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?

Material History /Virtual World

The V&A/RCA History of Design MA is offered jointly by the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art. It encourages interdisciplinary, innovative and critical approaches to the history of design across a range of mediums, places and times. Students work closely with the collections and curators at the V&A, as well as participating in the creative community at the RCA.