Google-less

I was amazed, but not surprised to learn that Google’s array of innovative ideas and services – ‘search’ accounts for almost all it’s revenue. While that might seemingly have little impact on the classroom (everything digital is free) – many teachers are using Google-Docs, Earth, Maps etc. Sadly, this is also proportionately small to those putting Google Goggles on kids. Even worse than this, some seem to think all search engines are search some singular, magical database owned by the Unicorns. People just use Google as it’s well known.

Without doubt, the repertoire of the vast majority of teachers extends little beyond email and basic office automation – reinforced by the institutional insistence that Microsoft Office is in fact ‘core-learning’ technology – the power of marketing. The most common use of ‘the internet’ of course – is SearchGoogle search.

“Do a Google-search” is like saying “Buy a Jeep”, when you mean a 4 wheel drive.

The brand is synonymous with search – and why not – it’s the world most visited site, and as people are quite lazy, this is what makes it a big deal with Bing is the default on HP machines. Most of the eye-balls using the web Google just about anything and everything.

“Whose was the ruler of Spain in 1795?” – Student thinks in a nano-second … Google It, read the text book or visit the library? hhhhmm… with a screen in front of them, the student repeats the question into the URL bar.

These days we don’t bother writing “htt://www.” or even “.com” and after a few characters, Google is already lining up advertisers for us – correcting spelling and suggesting ideas. The lure of easy-find information is a trade off for getting information that ideally – supports their customers view of what should be of interest or important to you.

According to Buisness Insider, $24 billion dollars worth of gross revenue is from advertising – the vast majority of it’s overall income.

Even more amazing, many teachers pour scorn on Wikipedia, yet allow Googling.

They are seemingly unconcerned information returned has commercial bias. Few will bother to find out any alternatives or still don’t understand search – as their own literacy is so poor or respond that ‘no one has shown me’ [insert yeah-butt excuse here]. Google’s tools such as Docs, Sites and Groups – that are actually useful to critical thinking (not much thinking in Google-search) are excluded as being ‘too dangerous’ in some schools.

But then according to Google’s own terms of service – under 18s are not allowed to use any of Googles web properties at all.

Go talk to your Librarian … Google-less and think more …