Is Google Making Us Dumb? 21% (and me) said Yes March 5, 2010Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: future, google, intelligence, internet, research
A portion of the Pew Research Center’s project, “The Future of the Internet IV”, examines an article written by Nicholas Carr in the summer of 2008 entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” (published in the Atlantic Monthly). The study asked respondents if they agreed with Carr, that human intelligence (measured by IQ) would not have increased and may have even decreased by 2020. Results were as follows (for totals): 76% did not agree with Carr, 21% did, and 2% did not respond. What is most interesting about this study is the lengthy comments that follow explaining their stance on human intelligence and how it will be affected by Internet information searching. Most discussion revolves around the issues we are well aware of–engaged reading has turned into skimming and jumping, what we used to have to remember we can always access, and (on the positive side) the number of resources available has exploded (although one could also start the debate on quality versus quantity).
Carr argues that our thinking is changing from a more strenuous method to a less vigorous one. He states that,”the ease of online searching and distractions of browsing through the web were possibly limiting his capacity to concentrate”. I see changes in my own thinking daily and have always believed this to be a product of information overload. Never one to have an attention problem, I too find myself unable to read an entire article, feeling the need to skim and move on. Many of Carr’s adversaries don’t see this as a negative thing. They believe that we are required to process information this way now
that we have so many sources available to us. While these objectors have a point, one has to ask where this will end? When will we max out? Information resources continue to proliferate and there has to come a point when we say ‘enough is enough’. If we spend all day skimming and comparing, when does the actual thinking and decision-making take place? Clearly, I agree with Carr and his small set of followers that Google (symbolically representing the Internet as a whole) will make us dumb.
Another argument that the commenters seem to miss is that knowledge and intelligence are not the same thing. While someone may have the most knowledge from browsing the Internet, this does not mean they can harness or process it in any useful way. However, you may take someone with limited knowledge and a lot of intelligence and teach them to do amazing things. True, an intelligent person with no knowledge cannot do much, but a person with a plethora of knowledge and no intelligence is just as useless. In conclusion, I would have to say that though “Google” will inevitably make us more knowledgeable, it cannot make us think more clearly.
Google’s Chance at Redemption: Liquid Galaxy February 17, 2010Posted by pupfiction in Amazing.
Tags: atlas, google, Google Buzz, google earth, Google Liquid Galaxy
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With all the recent clamor over Google’s invasion of privacy through the launching of Google Buzz, and the short-lived commotion over Google Wave, it’s hard to remember that Google still is one of the most innovative information providers in existence. American Libraries (the American Library Association’s magazine) did a post this last Friday on Google’s newest experiment -Google Liquid Galaxy. In the following demonstration “eight separate computers are running [this], and it’s being flown by a PS3 SixAxis controller” (American Libraries). Less than an hour ago a group of librarians and I were gushing over the new atlas from National Geographic, but this video has me wondering if paper atlases haven’t finally reached obsolescence.
Chinese Censorship Visualized February 12, 2010Posted by pupfiction in InformationIssues.
Tags: censorship, China, democracy, freedom, google, information
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Google’s fall out with China that dominated headlines in mid-January was a reminder to everyone that access to information is an important part of democracy and a free society. Google’s agreement, to block certain sites within China, is a hallmark in our technologically-dependent world and should not go without discussion. This amazing infographic from Informationisbeautiful.net displays the keywords and websites blocked in China. Some of the things that stuck out to me were: nhl.com, YouTube, democracy.com, digg.com –I mean, what are these people doing at work? Being productive? All kidding aside, this graphic is an important reminder as to why we should continually fight for free and open access to information.
Google is in Trouble February 8, 2010Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: google, Super Bowl
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How do we know Google is in trouble? Because they had to have a Super Bowl ad (which we totally loved).
A Step Closer to Google World Domination December 9, 2009Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: future, google, google goggles, innovation, NYTimes, voice search
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Google has recently rolled out some new features (admittedly, a phrase I could probably repeat every week). But these features are finally interesting enough to take a closer look at.
1. Adding live updates to results: Has anyone tried this yet? I just did a trial run with “Iraq” and watched as the news continually updated. The New York Times Companies section makes the good point that this feature will be most beneficial when information is changing at a dramatic pace. In my own experience, this is how I learned of changes to the now infamous “balloon boy” scandal back in October on Twitter, as people continued to update with links from multiple news stations.
On the other hand, there is the “search overload” so hilariously addressed in bing.com commercials. As librarians, this is something we are constantly combating, both in search strategies and information literacy instruction. So while Google may be attempting to remain the public’s primary source of information by competing with live websites like Twitter and Facebook, we must always remember that quantity does not always equal quality.
2. Google Goggles: This feature particularly interests me because I presented a paper about just such a “futuristic” innovation being researched by Japanese companies only a year ago, to the oohs and aahs of classmates. Google Goggles will enable users to take a picture and then, sending it to Google, receive information on it, much like a reverse image search. The same Times’ article suggests that this feature might help you to remember the name of a forgotten acquaintance, but I would surmise that we are still a long way from that. (More info from PC World on Google Goggles.)
3. The article finally discusses improvements to Google’s voice search, a feature I already use regularly and with which I have had great success. Google voice search will be adding Japanese to their list of usable languages, a list that already includes English and Chinese.
What’s the next feature that you wish Google would develop?
You [Auto]Complete Me December 5, 2009Posted by pupfiction in Just for Fun.
Tags: autocomplete, google, humor, the millions
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The Millions has just produced an article likening Google’s auto-complete function to glimpses of the “collective unconscious”, iconic psychiatrist Carl Jung’s theory that argues for “a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals.” He believes that this, “collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms…archetypes…” (Wikipedia). Much more entertaining than the Millions’ revelatory musings is the site they link to: Autocompleteme.com, a site dedicated to sharing the humorous prompts that Google suggests when searching. Though some of these are so incomprehensible as to seem ‘shopped, I started to do my own searches to see if such hilarity would ensue. One of the reasons I found for Google’s strange auto-completions was song lyrics. This is what happened when I typed in “sometimes I” (inspired by the site’s “sometimes I wonder”):
Google Books Blah Blah Blah November 30, 2009Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: copyright, google, google_books, legal, libraries
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If you are as sick as we are of hearing about Google Books settlement updates then just scroll past this post. BUT if you just found yourself saying, “huh?”, “what?”, or (astoundingly) “that sounds interesting!”, then you should check out this guide created by the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries that explains the revisions to the proposed settlement, and with particular emphasis on the parts that will most affect libraries. Have a Red Bull before this one!
140 Google Interview Questions November 5, 2009Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: google, humor, interview, job
I believe this post by the Seattle Interview Coach is meant to be serious and helpful, but it’s just as humorous as it is informative. Some examples:
You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
You have five pirates, ranked from 5 to 1 in descending order. The top pirate has the right to propose how 100 gold coins should be divided among them. But the others get to vote on his plan, and if fewer than half agree with him, he gets killed. How should he allocate the gold in order to maximize his share but live to enjoy it? (Hint: One pirate ends up with 98 percent of the gold.)
Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.
What’s 2 to the power of 64?
How many piano tuners are there in the world?
I’m assuming that Google is looking for creative answers to some of these because honestly how many people know how many piano tuners there are in the world?!?