Seeking infallibility?

 It seems they’re in the news everyday and I’m okay with that.  I love Google, the tool.  Although I like to see good companies succeed, I don’t own the stock so I have no strong feelings one way or the other about them as a company.  But, oh their search engine….. that is certainly an incredibly useful utility.  And they seem to be very serious around innovation and I’m a fan of that.  But Google’s existence has caused many people of a certain age to rhetorically ask, “What did we do before Google?”  Meaning, how did we find things out about anything before Google gave us a simple way to do it?  For you young people, the answer of course is that we had libraries, encyclopedias, tribal knowledge, lies, make-believe, and imagination, usually in that order.  Are we better off now that Google contains all human knowledge (tongue-in-cheek)?  I think so but those other methods are probably getting a little dusty and rusty by now. 

They really are a fascinating story though.  From a seemingly boring little utility that promised to make searching easier and faster, they’ve grown to be seen as threat to personal privacy, which caused their (now former) CEO, Eric Schmidt, to utter these immortal words, If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”  It’s a good line, and a good point, I suppose. (See WSJ: Eric Schmidt for more)  But before we start resigning ourselves to the thought that Google can do no wrong and it’s inevitable that we will be ceding our entire lives over to a massive database and some analytical software, you should read me and my algorithm, a hysterical article by Seth Freeman that was published a few days ago in the New York Times.  I think I’ll start paying attention to that sidebar on my Gmail.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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