Google's recent introduction of recipe search provides a fascinating case study in how search engines are dictating tastes and trends rather than simply cataloguing them.

The efficacy of search engines means that many a traditional means of acquiring a ‘how to’ guide have found themselves sidelined in favour of the keyword search.

Every month about a billion of Google’s searches are for recipes. The dishes that its search engine turns up, particularly those on the first page of results, have a huge impact on what Americans cook.

In times of more naive Internet opinion, evidence of such distribution of knowledge away from books and onto the open network might have been cause for celebration. But Nicholas Carr provides an extremely illuminating dissection of what Google’s prime position as culinary mediator actually means.

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