Just “Google” it
Honestly, I think everybody said this, or it has been said to them at one point in their lives. I mean, every time you quickly want to know something, you go to Google, right? It’s the easiest way.
Have you ever actually counted how many times you “google” something per day? Yeah, I put it quotation marks, as “google” is actually a recognised verb now, since it’s used so often. Crazy how this verb really became part of our society.
Truth is, I don’t think we want to admit it but WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT GOOGLE. Google saves my life at least several times a day.
I can hear you thinking: “Well how many times is Google used then in our daily lives?”
Google now processes an average of over 63,000 search queries every second , which is about 3.8 million per minute. This translates into over 5.5 billion searches per day and about 2 trillion searches per year globally. WOW. Yeah, I googled that. Ironic, isn’t it?
Let’s think about our parents for a second, they didn’t have Google. Can you imagine high school without Google? I couldn’t. How else would you write your reports? I mean, they did it all with books and – depending on how old you are – with the worldwide web – yes, Gen Z, that is was WWW stands for. They actually had to really, really search for the content for their reports, in analogue libraries. Using these things called ‘card catalogues’. Don’t ask me, I don’t know how they work either.. Amazing.
Google was founded 18 years ago, by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University. I bet these guys were just really tired of continuously looking through the “World Wide Web” or those card catalogue things for information. You have to admit, it is quite an extradentary thing to have set up – Google, I mean, not the card catalogues.
Last time, I wrote about videos that give a more meaningful, immersive and better learning experience. Now I am wondering what influence Google plays when it comes to the way we learn. Does it actually support the learning process or does this overload of information only distract our brains?
Again, lots of research is done on this. And well, shocker, the results are divided.
Some researchers have argued that the easy access to information actually really stimulates our brains, giving us the opportunity to focus on other skills. Steve Pinker, a Harvard Psychology professor, reaffirmed this by stating that the Internet and technological advancement are truly the only solutions that keeps us human beings smart. Would you agree on that? Personally, I’m not so sure…
On the other side, you also have those that argue if instant access to information via search engines has a negative effect. Research from Kaspersky Labs has even found that we are increasingly forgetting information, because it’s all stored in external memory – like our smartphones. For example, do you know all the birthdays of your closest friends by heart? If you do, great. I often hear people saying things like: “If not for Facebook, I would have forgotten it was her birthday today.”. This is called ‘digital amnesia’ and it’s rising. A little over a decade ago, people could remember each other’s phone numbers – now? It’s once again stored in our phones. People are ready to forget important information because they know that they can retrieve it from a digital device with internet.
What we can conclude from this is that we have learned to rely on Google rather than on our own memory, particularly when it comes to storing long-term knowledge. The fact that we are able to access information wherever we like, has a negative impact on our motivation to actually memorize information for later on. I mean, why would we? We can find it again in a split second. People with iPhones don’t even have to type anymore, they can just ask SIRI. And now Android isn’t too far behind with that either!
Truth is, Google makes our lives easier, there’s no denying that, but it has also changed the way we think and remember. Without realizing it, we’ve become Google-dependent. It has replaced our need to memorize details. These new habits, using Google for almost everything, interfere in the development of our deep and conceptual knowledge. That aside, I don’t think I have to tell you this, but the internet is full of incorrect information. So, you are never completely certain if what you actually googled is the truth? Maybe we should just go back to card catalogues after all…. Nah, just kidding.
Secretly, I think we are all a little troubled with digital amnesia, also known as the Google Effect…
This post is brought to you by one of AQ’s Undergraduates, Paula van Staalduinen. As part of our internship programs undergraduates and classic interns are encouraged to take part in company culture. Paula’s primary project focuses on training programs and eLearning and how best to adapt this to industries under pressure.