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!


Brian Mull said...

I would think that the difference lies in the type of question. For a quick, factual type question, I think the Google shines (so long as you know how to evaluate what you find).

On the other hand, for questions regarding the application of those facts, I believe that the various perspectives, areas of expertise, amounts of prior knowledge makes the discussion so valuable.

eSchool Solutions said...

Great post! In this day, technology has covered up those chances for people to connect socially, however, as a technology geek, I think it's important for people to research and figure out the answer on their own rather than asking an individual. This is where "the google" could come into play!

Matt Messinger said...

Thanks for the interesting post. To add to your point about people looking directly to the machine (i.e. Google) instead of to other people...often times technology can facilitate human-to-human interactions. Quora is an example. So while technology can at once be the "machine" as you say, it can also draw people closer together.

Jenna Baxter said...

Hey, my name is Jenna Baxter and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking EDM310 and you have been assigned as my first teacher to comment on. I will have a post summarizing my visits available by Feb. 6. The link to my blog is and the link to the class blog is I thought that your blog made a lot of sense. Until a few years ago if you would have asked me what Google was, I would not have been able to tell you. Now I rely on this search engine on a daily basis. While I do rely on Google, I also believe it is important to form connections with other people. If you can find a person to give you the same information attained on Google, why not go to a person with real experience on the subject. I look forward to following your blog.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I too have felt Google has led to a great paradigm in information sharing and personal relationships. There have been times when my friends around me, while on their laptops or texting on their droids no less, have asked me what I thought a dumb question or something that I could no way no the full answer to. "Google it!" I want to exclaim. People have come to the point where they expect answers NOW, and they don't care how they get it. I feel like gone is the thrill of the hunt, the process, of how to find information as well as the human interaction that can come from exchanging ideas and information.

I don't know what the answer is, I just want it NOW.