Magazine article Information Today

Why I Love Google

Magazine article Information Today

Why I Love Google

Article excerpt

What's not to love? It knows everything--or at least more than enough for the hours in a day or at least the hours in a searcher's day--certainly enough to eat all the time allotted or endurable for searching a topic. Even if the big G fails--and that's not a frequent enough occurrence to register as a caution--you've either run out of time or interest.

Besides that, it's about the only company that has a standing policy of trying to know everything and trying to deliver that knowledge everywhere. ("Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.") Of course, I can hear the cynics hooting and jeering at my naivete. (And no, I do not want to buy that bridge in Brooklyn.) But many years ago, I saw a movie that left me with a lesson learned and never forgotten. The movie was set in the headquarters of a big city newspaper, an office inhabited by wise guy reporters and editors, all born cynics. Arunning gag throughout the picture was betting on the sex and delivery date of a starlet's progeny, a starlet with quite a reputation. The winner turned out to be the man who had researched the genetic history of the starlet's husband, the only candidate for fatherhood no one else had even considered. The lesson learned? Deception is usually a possibility in any statement of intent, but never dismiss out of hand the possibility that the party may be telling the truth.

And watching Google's behavior over the years would seem to confirm the grandest of grand goals. Look at those expensive silos of information it has built. Google Books alone must have reached hundreds of millions in cost outlays. Only in the past year has Google started to hook it up to possible revenue streams like the Google Bookstore. Google Scholar has not gotten the monetization treatment to any extent despite its size and growing impact. …

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