Gauging the Google gaze: A digital visual analysis of images of a semi-peripheral town

BRANTNER, Cornelia, RODRIGUEZ-AMAT, Joan and STEWART, Judith (2024). Gauging the Google gaze: A digital visual analysis of images of a semi-peripheral town. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, 16 (1).

Rodriguez-Amat-GaugingTheGoogleGaze(VoR).pdf - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (6MB) | Preview
Official URL:
Open Access URL: (Published version)
Link to published version::


This study explores the visual representation of Great Yarmouth, a British coastal town caught between the urban and the rural, as seen through the quasi-monopolistic image search engine Google Images. The research examines levels of pluralistic or biased place representations to consider how rankings employed by Google Images algorithms represent Great Yarmouth’s identity. The study adopts a visual culture perspective that recognises the role of images in place making and combines digital methods with an image type analysis to investigate how online representations reflect and create the town’s identities. The data shows that Google Images’ preference for representing Yarmouth as a sunny seaside town indicates that the search engine prioritises marketable assets above its connections with its hinterland, its diversity of people, and the cultural activities it has to offer. This, the authors state, is a place far away from Tuan’s (1979) idea of a place that is given meaning and identity from the perspective of people. Instead, Google Images’ representations of Great Yarmouth are an example of a created form of place making as commodification. The article concludes that the inscribed bias and unbalanced search priority criteria employed by the search engine impact upon the diversity of the semi-peripheral town.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2002 Cultural Studies; 4405 Gender studies; 4702 Cultural studies
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 09 May 2023 13:29
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2024 13:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics