Saturday, August 01, 2009

Ways To Fish

Interesting article in the Prospect magazine on the web as seen through Google. The author writes

Pampered by Google, most of us have got used to thinking of the online world as one seamlessly interconnected whole: 30bn pages all instantly accessible via the right search term and the click of a mouse.

Indeed for most of us, if it does not show up by way of Google search it does not exist for all practical purposes - the world wide web spreads only as far and wide as it's net can be cast. With everyone having access to the same tool to look for the information they need, knowledge is as egalitarian as it is unoriginal.

Ten years ago, one might have picked up a few books to keep up with the latest in technology, today they would simply subscribe to the relevant feeds and podcasts. While in the past, you could have been limited by your access to limited physical resources, it also inherently made for a good amount of diversity in what people knew about any subject. In turn this made possible a healthy exchange of ideas and the opportunity to learn something from person to person interaction. Today, Google holds all the answers making the human sources mostly irrelevant.

So if it takes, Bing, Biadu et al, to give people different ways to fish from our common pool of knowledge, chances are we will not all be catching the same the exact same thing - and can only be a good thing for everyone.

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