Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ask the Google...

The Google Knows!

Sometimes when students ask me a question. I tell them to ask "the Google, the Google knows" They look at me for a second trying to decide if I realize that it isn't called "the" Google. It is my own private joke, a reference to the line from the old radio drama The Shadow, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows." (I amuse myself at least.)

When I come upon a question that I need answered, a bit of trivia, a historical fact that I would like to know, my first instinct is to ask "the Google." And Google usually does know. Sometimes I have to rephrase my question, but eventually Google figures me out. It is an amazing tool. I don't know how we lived without it for so many years.

But we did live without it. What did we do back then? We looked in a book or we asked a friend, a colleague or a family member. And when we did ask a person, usually some conversation occurred. Our relationships evolved in some way because of the questions we asked. Every time we ask "the Google" instead of reaching out to our networks, our family, our friends and our colleagues are we missing out on a connection or a conversation?

I'm not suggesting that we give up on Google, but maybe we should think first about the people who could answer our questions before we go right for the machine. We might gain much more than the answers!
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