Is Researching with Google a Good Idea?

It's easy to turn to Google for help, whether with reference information or a phone number. Indeed, the increasing use of Google to learn anything has led to the verb *googling*. But, is this a good thing? As I've noted before, the more Google results are used, the more they appear in Google. With enough clicks, certain pages become "locked in" to the first page of results. Google might maintain that this is good, that it's allowing the public to 'vote' in a sense on which results are most relevant. In this way, the argument would run, the best results get pushed to the top. But, of course, what happens is that the most clicked results get pushed to the top, and there's no way of knowing if they're good. So, when someone wants to do research, they get a top-10 list of pre-digested information. The results have already been sedimented according to Google's counting. And, in this way, an idiosyncratic view can be presented to the unsuspecting user. The ease of using Google instead of doing real research makes it very tempting to simply search for one's topic on the Web. And this means that one's research is driven—from the very beginning—by the public and by Google. Isn't this is worst case of bad research---allowing one's initial data gathering to already be tainted?