How Google Uses Design for Profit and Power

This presentation gives a brief overview of the dissertation How Google Uses Design for Profit & Power: Neocolonialism & Google’s Material Design Guidelines, which explores how Google uses design as a tool to augment the company’s neocolonial actions. It reveals the twentieth-century, imperialist origins of Material as a modern design system and examines how these origins inform the functioning of Material within a contemporary, neocolonial context. Though previous researchers have looked at Google’s control over the global online advertising market and the impact of search algorithms on minority communities, this study’s framing reveals how a contemporary design system can be used for neo-imperial purposes and is the first to critically investigate Google’s design. The dissertation serves to answer the overall question: How is Material Design used to enhance Google’s profit and control within a neocolonial context?