Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Googlization of Everything

When a website becomes used by millions of people per day and relied upon so heavily that the title of the website itself becomes a verb, you can be sure that the website is a dominant one. Google, is a website which has solidified itself as one of these websites. In Siva Vaidhyanathan’s book, “The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry), Vaidhyanathan even goes to the extreme of comparing Google’s power to that of Julius Caesar. “Like Caesar, Google has found its mandate to rule through vast popular support, even in the absence of a referendum” (Vaidhyanathan, 14).

So how has the Internet giant “Googlized” everything?

Using advanced algorithms, Google has become experts at what they call “PageRank”. As defined here, PageRank is: “A 0-10 score assigned by Google that rates the popularity of an indexed web page based on the number & type of external links pointing to that page.” As Vaidynathan puts it, the Web is a calmer, friendlier, less controversial and frightening medium – as long as one uses Google to navigate it.

Google has also changed the face of advertising dramatically. They’re best known for groundbreaking technologies such as Google AdWords and placement-targeted advertising. The techniques which set Google’s advertising apart from many others is the possibility to target advertisements so accurately. Companies are paying more for advertisements because they know that they will be reaching people who are interested in their product.

There are so many things Google has done to dominant the Internet, but one of the most important things they have done is made themselves available across numerous platforms. Google was one of the first websites to create a handheld version of their website. They have released numerous apps for handheld devices including Google maps and Google mail.

Finally, Google has also done some things which have been extremely controversial. In an attempt to take a “street view” picture of every street in the world for their Google maps application, Google has gotten themselves into a little bit of trouble. So much trouble in fact, that the entire city of North Oaks, Minnesota decided to request removal of the photos taken by Google.

More recently, Google has changed its privacy settings. The changes may have come due to the fact that many users have began catching on to the fact that Google most likely knows more about us then some of our close friends do; just because of what we do online. The millions of servers that Google owns are now being filled up with our personal information, and there is no sign of it being deleted in the near future.

So whether you think Google is taking it too far, or it is just acting as the dominant Internet phenomena it has become, it really makes you ask yourself…

What Have We Turned Into?

– Ian McDougald

Photo: http://www.googlizationofeverything.com/

Works Cited

Vaidhyanathan, Siva. The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry). Berkeley: University of California, 2011. Print.

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Seems like an odd question doesn’t it. Google, the greatest search engine on the planet. The Internet enterprise started in a garage by two Stanford University graduates. How could it possibly be making us stupid?

Nicholas Carr asks himself this question and encourages others to do the same. After reading his article one can understand why the question is actually quite valid.

A subject which is mentioned often in Carr’s article is reading. The difference between reading on the Internet and on paper, and how our reading has been affected due to technology. Personally, I can say that I also find it difficult to read for long periods of time without my mind drifting. One second I’ll be divulged into the text and the next I’ll be thinking about dinner. The interesting thing I find when I catch myself slightly drifting is that I believed I was still reading. I had convinced myself that I had read a paragraph or two, when really I was just thinking about dinner and not actually retaining any of the information which I had only looked at.

As Carr suggests, these changes may have come due to “spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet”. I believe this is exactly the case, but spending a lot of time on something doesn’t always change the brain. It is the content and how the Internet is written that is affecting our reading skills. As we learned in our Media Writing class, the online edition of the newspaper is written much differently than the print version. Some things are left out, and often more pictures are used. Now some people argue that, they do this because they are aware their readers are reading differently now and often skimming instead of reading. The dilemma is similar to that of, what came first the chicken or the egg? Has writing on the Internet always been changing our brains? Or, have Internet writers changed their style of writing because they have thought that our style of reading has changed? Regardless, there is no doubt that the way we read now has been affected by the Internet.

Whether you feel you’ve been changed by the Internet, or feel that you’re reading differently there are two key questions you should really ask yourself. Is Google making us stupid? But also, more importantly…

What Have We Turned Into?

– Ian McDougald

Is Google Making Us Stupid?