Audiences for science and technology news in traditional news outlets are shrinking, and recent data suggest that citizens increasingly turn to online sources for information about emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology1. This raises a number of questions. How does the lay public approach this wealth of online information about nanotechnology? And what kinds of content are they likely to encounter based on these searches? Our results suggest that the terms audiences search for and the content they encounter during these searches increasingly shift the public debate about nanotechnology away from more economic or scientific considerations toward health and medical considerations.