Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why does Google remind me of beer?

Mmmm, I cannot lie, I imbibe quite flexibly and eagerly when it comes to beer. Instant gratification in the form of a nice, cold beer. You don't have to over think it, you can keep going back for more, and it lulls you into a sense of ease and well-being. That is until you over do it, then it's look out below and 'thar she blows!' Yes, beer can also knock you out cold. Comatose city.

Surely, I am not implying that Google is that pernicious and sneaky. And maybe I'm being way too glib (?), and yet reading Carr's piece prodded me into thinking about my own Google, computer, internet, iphone, TV using/watching habits. (Not to mention my beer guzzling habits). I am not going to stop using Google any time soon, but maybe I'll begin to examine the ways in which I might be impacted. I might ask myself "What exactly am I gaining/losing from culling my information via internet versus hunting and gathering text/print/non-print sources in a non-virtual way?" Ultimately, are my information seeking-and-understanding skills/habits being compromised in some way by depending so much on search engines?

What of my "knee-jerk" reaction of going right away to Google when I have a question or have a search need? (Just as I would yen for an ice cold india pale ale on a hot summer night.) But, of course, I must point out that the Google search method is often a starting point to a much more in-depth searching process. Google cannot be the end all of your research methods because it will not necessarily yield the multi-layered, complex, and integrated results that you may get from seeking out various information sources.

[disclaimer: no beer was imbibed during the creation of this post.]

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