Google Blogoscoped

Friday, July 20, 2007

Nicholas Carr on Google Replacing Memory

“Do I look like Google?” is a question asked to another question, especially a knowledge or trivia question (the phrase got its own domain, too). Indeed the easier it is to find something, the less value we see in remembering it. Nicholas Carr tells James Maquire:

I think it’s important to look at Google skeptically. I have no doubt that it’s sincere in its desire to do no evil, or whatever its slogan is. But Google has an incredible amount of power now, in determining how people navigate the Web, and thus how people navigate information. And I think that even if it doesn’t intend to abuse that power, it can have that effect. By squelching innovation in some ways, [for example] by steering people toward more popular Web sites – including its own sites, like YouTube.

Also, and this isn’t so much Google alone, but the way we now gather information, via Web sites, and in particular via links between Web sites, is very different from how people have been gathering information for the last 500 years or so since the invention of the printing press.

And I think there’s a lot we don’t know about what it’s going to ultimately mean for the way we think, and the way we see the world. It’s been pointed out by others that Google, because of its success as a search engine, kind of in some ways begins to replace the human memory. You don’t have to remember everything, if you know that simply by Googling everything you’ll find it again.

And in [Beyond Google and evil], I quote from that playwright who talks about that sense of becoming ’pancake people’ because our memory and our consciousness begins to flatten, and we no longer hold inside our own minds the kind of rich, cultural heritage that we used to. That’s speculative, certainly, but I think we are on a path to a new way, to a new – ’consciousness’ might be too big a word – but a new way of interacting with information, and thus with knowledge.

[Via Digg search.]


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!