A Nation of Voyeurs

\"Dazzlingly fast, vast, and precise, Google has made our lives appreciably easier. The first tool truly to make sense of the white noise that is the Internet, Google has become essential research for everyone from sales people calling on new accounts to single people taking another spin with blind-date roulette. It\'s reconnected long-lost biological brothers and battalion buddies. And who dials 411 anymore, when it\'s cheaper and faster on Google, and you don\'t have to explain to some headset-wearer in Terre Haute how to spell Worcester? Google saves time, saves face - it may even save lives. Instead of calling their doctor, some people type their symptoms into Google; a few have learned they were in the early stages of a heart attack.\"

\"But somewhere along the path toward changing our daily lives, Google changed our concept of time as well. It has helped make our past - or oddly refracted shards of it - present and permanent. That\'s a radical notion for a medium usually defined by its ability to constantly update itself.\" (from The Boston Globe)


Google-Opoly: The Game No One but Google Can Play

Jill sent over A Slate Story on Google, and the SearchKing lawsuit.
They say the legal question is whether Google\'s lead in the search-and-ranking business gives it unfair dominance over every Internet business, and the legal answer appears to be no.
For some reason they then go on to say the issues raised in the suit should concern anyone who worries about the ways in which the Internet promotes free speech in fabulous new ways while allowing a handful of companies to control access to that speech. They even go so far as to say nervous pundits have suggested that maybe Google ought to be regulated, as a utility or common carrier.
Seems funny coming from a site owned by Microsoft...


Google's Gaggle of Problems

Businessweek takes a look at Google's Gaggle of Problems.
They say now that it is #1, it may be facing one of the oldest maxims in business: Once you make it to the top, it can be mighty hard to stay there.
They say Verity, Overture, the loss of Yahoo, WiseNut, Teoma, and FAST are all gaining ground.


The importance of being Googled

Gary Deane, our Canadian correspondant, sent over This National Post Story thet says Google is, arguably, the most important site on the Internet. It is an inescapable fact of Internet life.
They take a good look at the law suit brought by a company called SearchKing, where it alleges that Google changed the way it ranks pages, and that the change in ranking hurt SearchKing\'s business.
They go on to ask:

\"Is it, perhaps, a public utility, and therefore deserving of regulation? Is it an example of a network effect, where increasing users have created an unassailable standard that has daunting market power? And if that is the case, what if Google became more arbitrary in its rankings, as SearchKing is already alleging?\"

[Update] Jessamyn points to A Great Discussion on This over at Lawmeme.


Is Googling O.K.?

Theo writes: "Randy Cohen, the Everyday Ethicist in NY Times Magazine, responds to a question about "Googling" people, in this case a blind date."

Cohen says he's all for it, and admits he's done it, and many other people have, too; that's why the verb "to Google" is now a familiar neologism.
As Gary would probably add, never trust your romantic snooping to just one search engine!


Sites Become Dependent on Google

Gary Deane sent along This NYTimes Story on what they call "the Google economy."They say Google has become enough of a Web gatekeeper that its leads now prop up plenty of commercial sites.
With its partner sites included, Google is now responsible for about three-quarters of all search engine traffic to Web sites, according to the research firm StatMarket.


The World According to Google

David Goldman from over at KFSorce writes \"Google cofounder Sergey Brin puts it succinctly: “I’d like to get to a state where people think that if you’ve Googled something, you’ve researched it, and otherwise you haven’t and that’s it.” We’re almost there now.\" For the full (bombastic) text see \"The World According to Google\"


He\'s Really Gung Ho about Google

steven bell writes \"John Derbyshire, columnist for National Review Online, in his Nov. 14 column \"The Age of Google\" give his readers the following advice: \"Throw out your Merriam-Webster, throw out your Fowler and Follett — throw away your whole shelf of reference books, in fact.\" You can probably guess where Google-fanatic Derbyshire is going with this column. That\'s right. Now that you can \"google\" all day, there\'s pretty much nothing else you need when it comes to finding information. Even though he does note that not everything in on the Internet yet, he states that \"A vast world of knowledge — all the knowledge in the world, in fact — is opening up to anyone with an $800 computer and an internet account\". I did like one of Derbyshire\'s remarks. He said that in the old days if someone made an observation about what Kierkegaard said (or quoted him) he or she had probably actually read Keirkegaard. Now, says Derbyshire, anyone can fool anyone else by sounding knowledgeable when in fact he or she probably just \"googled up\" that information. You guessed it. No mention of librarians here. So much for that \"human search engine\" campaign. Read the whole column at: \"


New Google Project shows International Real Time

Carl Fogle passed along word on Live Query, a project that can be seen at Google\'s headquarters. It shows, in real time, updated samples of what people around the world are typing into Google\'s search engine.
``You can learn to say `sex\' in a lot of different languages by looking at the logs,\'\' said Craig Silverstein, director of technology at Google.
They say Google\'s worldwide scope means the company can track ideas and phenomena as they hop from country to country.
I guess Google Zeitgeist is the closest thing we can see.


Google is a Global Phenomenon

Steven Bell writes \"A Nov.28 NYT article, \"Postcards From Planet Google\" explores the social relevance of the dominant search engine - over 150 million questions a day from 100 countries. Google collects every search query and enters it into a database. The article focuses on the stories these queries tell, and what can be learned by analyzing the question patterns. For example, why was there a sudden spike in queries about Carol Brady\'s maiden name (you\'ll have to read the article to find out). Even your local public librarian knows that something is up after the 17th grade-schooler in a row asks for the same information. Google just needs to do this on a massive scale with no knowledge of its user community. The big question: can the data analysis be used to turn a profit? The marketers are showing up at Google. Read more (registration needed) at The NYTimes \"



Subscribe to Google