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Information Brokers: A Comparison of the Web Browser Choices between Internet Users in the US and China

  • Author(s): Shih, Kevin Jer-Kang
  • Advisor(s): Emigh, Rebecca Jean
  • et al.
Abstract

By treating web browsers as information brokers, this dissertation found that the rise of Google Chrome in China and the United States (two countries with vastly different regulations) is contingent on Google and its competitors’ cultural reputations (as suggested by previous research). This dissertation also found that Chrome’s popularity in the US and China is affected by how it is connected to other market entities and popular web services. By examining how a popularly utilized tool is institutionalized in two different countries, this dissertation articulates a new theoretical framework—by combining the sociology of consumption and social network theory—that is more suited to studying online platforms that broker content for internet users.

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