The Google Effect

By Deane Barker on July 24, 2003

The Web, According to Google: An interesting look at what effect Google has on information retrieval. I will admit to checking Google and little else at times.

“Were Google less influential that probably wouldn’t matter. But as Americans, especially young ones, come to regard the leading search site as the source of all human knowledge, the effect could become pernicious. ‘People perceive it as the one and only place they need to go for information,’ says James Rettig … ‘That’s unfortunate, because people who use only search engines will miss things’ — such as books, which represent most of humankind’s body of knowledge to date.”

Thomas Friedman echoed this in a New York Times column a couple of weeks ago:

“If I can operate Google, I can find anything…Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything.”

This prompted whoever is behind internetiss** to respond:

“The internet is not the sole basis upon which you can determine existence. It sounds simple but people are starting to forget. If it doesn’t have a website, that doesn’t make something low quality. If you can’t Google your blind date, that doesn’t make them a freak. If one website says something about anything, it’s more than likely pure invention and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Checking your sources does not mean finding another website that says the same. Fiction is self-perpetuating.”



  1. Google is good for searching one thing – the Web. The Web has many biasses: – towards the US, towards the present, towards youth, towards the English language, towards a certain level of wealth, towards geekery, to name but a few. Therefore a Google search will find some things much better (will find much more of some things) than others. Top of the list would be showbiz trivia, for all the above reasons. It is striking that showbiz trivia is about the least important thing in the world.

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