Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Google Grid

We had an informal workshop at work today about Google, not just Google the search engine but Google the social phenomenon. The Google Perspective. ePIC 2014.

The group seemed to agree that professional researchers build their skills not by choosing which fancy tools they use, but by working the basics of the trade - kinda like the word processor doesn't make the writer (but the clothes make the man, I'm so so confused).

Spending the time to find the right material and handling it responsibly is a serious investment of energies, as any researcher at any level will tell you. Are schools and parents teaching this survival skill to their college-bound children? Are students wanting to lear how to think critically, or is school just a hoop in a larger maze of socialization? What about those who don't care about college and the education-information industrial complex?

Yahoo didn't have this kind of buzz or cache back in the late 1990s. Repetitive acts of material consumerism helped by a product and information portal is not like the serial acts of a persistent intellectual imperialist structure of a single information aggregator? No it's not. But is that one of the differences between Google and Yahoo? Or behind the race for a universal, cosmic, international pan-digital library? Is that really what we're facing?

Technology is an aid to research, there's no substitute for the real thing. Automated, corporate-sponsored, air-brushed, steriod-laced realities are nice to collect, but they are not the only kind out there. Human diversity is not threatened by Google. The only thing to fear is fear itself. The truth is out there, grasshopper. You can find it.

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