Google: My love and my bane

What is it about this monstrous power called Google that has us all so enraptured? Is it the fact that as I write this editorial, the search engine we all know as Google is searching approximately eight billion websites with the click of a button? Consequently, it then leads me to answers that, only a decade ago, I had to locate with a phone book, a library, or concede that I’d never know. Along with the image, group, advanced and possible future library searches—will this machine be able to handle all that may be demanded of it? It seems very likely. At this moment most people trust Google to lead them to the correct facts, and eventually aid them in making the most accurate decisions possible. I feel as though the enormous burden of ignorance and inadequacy has been lifted from my shoulders as I begin to peruse the seemingly unending list of answers to my search. What could be more satisfying to an inquisitive mind? I have to admit: I am a Google user and have benefited from its ability on numerous occasions. I would have to say my life has changed since the conception of Google. Although, on the other hand, it seems our culture is being lulled slowly into the delusion that Google can answer all of our questions. Yet, Google doesn’t have the answers, it only supplies us the possibilities it has gathered to prepare us in our effort to battle a lack of knowledge. I hesitate to propose a mind-altering question…suppose Google supplied me with inaccurate information or—forgive me—no information on my subject at all! As someone who enjoyed 14 years of life without the internet I am happy to say that I learned how to use the Dewey Decimal System and card catalog at the library. I was taught to use an index, table of contents, bold words, headings, and thesis sentences in order to facilitate my research. Since then I have added to my credentials a very extensive working relationship with the internet and its search engines. I have middle school students now under my tutelage, and I have found that even the brightest students, when assigned a project or simple paper, instantly turn to Google for their information. I am pleased to see my students using the same giant of technology to which I turn, but I am deeply troubled when they come to me later and say they can’t find anything about the subject. How can they not find anything when half the information is in their textbooks, and I have three entire sections dedicated to it in another book behind my desk? This was puzzling to me until I found out that their only form of information was Google. They didn’t even consider another source! Even movies and television are spurring on the Google reliance. In the recent movie Hitch, actress Eva Mendes’ character says that she wants to “Google” her friend’s possible date in order to find out more about him. Not only students, but society as a whole, need to be knowledgeable about how to find information. You shouldn’t automatically trust a website found by Google to be accurate, especially when it contains the musings of a teenager who happens to have opinions about your topic of interest. Again, I must come clean that I am and always will be a Google user…but please, for the sake of our children, there is nothing more rewarding than working diligently to find an answer that is undeniably accurate.

One thought on “Google: My love and my bane

  1. So…I “googled” you – typed in “Seth Gehrke” other wise your first and last name would be separated – got about 15 hits –

    Some surprises –
    You are a 4 year old in a 2005 preschool picture at some school.

    You and your brother are the great grandchildren of some old lady in her obituary.

    Gotta love Goggle!

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