The vastness of Google. The smallness of us.

This entry was posted by Wednesday, 8 July, 2009
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Image lifted (obviously) from the real McCoy

JUST SILLY ‘OL GOOGLE

Google is a force of nature sweeping though our culture and fundamentally changing us. It’s creative and audacious. And it grows like a fungus.

Its search engine is so widespread that it shocks when, as in China, it is only the number TWO choice behind a national favorite (Baidu, in China).

Its library of books and other materials is galactic in size and is gobbling reading matter like a virtual black hole. And, as an advertising medium, it left its competitors behind a long time ago.

Gmail is dominant.

Of course it is.

Customized by its gadgets and themes, iGoogle is a swiss army knife of a home page and a consistent starting point for the day. No matter where or how you get to the Internet, many – and this includes me – find it indispensable.

Chrome, its fairly new browser, is catching on fast and has added drivers to become a browser/operating system. Microsoft won’t be happy.

Obviously, you Bing Google at your peril.

Google Maps, Google Video, Google News, Google Voice, Google Reader, Google Earth (which will still be “cool” even when the iPhone gets overtaken by something else), Google Calendar, Picassa (photos). And Google Health preempts some of the healthcare ideas currently being slung around Washington

This blog? It’s hosted on Google’s “blogger”. Which is free.

Of course.

GOOGLE DOCS

Like most of its stuff, Google Docs is simple to use. And free.

With Docs, you’re working in “the cloud” – meaning that your applications and your data are secured on the Internet by your new best friend. And that WOULD be Google – who you, implicitly, trust to do the right thing.

Google Docs consists of Document (word processing), Spreadsheet, Presentation (slides and such) and Forms which offers a way to easily (of course) create interactive questionnaires which can be mailed or added to your own sites. The answers to the questions are combined for you into a nice spreadsheet. And there’s a built-in graphical “summary”.

You can “share” the Spreadsheet, Document, or Presentation you’re working on with others to develop things together in a very natural way.

IN YOUR POCKET TOO

Don’t be TOO surprised if Google’s Android operating system runs your next phone. It is now proliferating all over the place.

It isn’t practical to list all things Google. Or to explain the potential importance of each of the applications. Without much hoopla, interesting and creative online programs appear in “Google Labs“, migrating, eventually, to the list that starts at the top of the browser spilling onto another long page.

WHAT ARE WE DEALING WITH, ANYWAY?

Synergy. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Is Google blessed among American Corporations? Are those who turn their faces against Google doomed to googling in Hell? Is Microsoft the Father, Google the son, and Apple the Holy Ghost? Truly and verily, is Google ubiquitous, omniscient, and all powerful?

Yeah. Probably.

But we seem to be better off for it. Some may fear it, but I am happy to have the benefits and am not complaining.

OUR BRAINS ON GOOGLE

Getting information has always been important to survival. It’s our edge. Speech defined us. Writing was a good step forward. And Gutenberg’s printing thingee was a big help too.

NOW WHAT?

In a blink, almost all of this planet’s information is (or soon will be) available.

If you know how to Google it.

Google gives us tools. It self-modifies as it grows to work better for us. Nothing else can quite focus and manage the Internet the way it can. Those of us humans who can best benefit from Google’s offerings may be just a little more successful.

Call it unnatural selection?

Whatever it is, Google has become our partner. A co-evolving force of not-quite-nature which is vast, powerful, yet casual and almost informal.

DISTILLING IT ALL DOWN

What does it mean for us?

I dunno.

But I’m thinking about it.

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