Googling with my new­est best friend ‘Goog’

The Compass - - OPINION -

IThe com­puter is the fastest source for knowl­edge since 323 BC — Google V.P. J. Rosen­berg ’m pas­sion­ate about my new ac­quain­tance. Since he grad­u­ated with his mas­ter’s de­gree in in­for­ma­tion and in­for­ma­tional tech­nol­ogy they call him Google. For short I al­ways re­fer to him as my new­est on­line best friend ‘Goog’.

Goog and I met sev­eral years ago when I de­cided to be­come a scrib­bler for this news­pa­per.

At the start I found his name rather strange — like the guy in our Grade 9 class who had an IQ of 120 (near­ing ge­nius level) and whose name was Lars.

Goog has proven to be a loyal and trust­wor­thy friend.

His boss, Jonathan Rosen­berg, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of his school of thought told Goog that he is serv­ing (daily) over 1.4 bil­lion peo­ple around the globe. He said nearly a quar­ter of the world’s pop­u­la­tion uses Google on the In­ter­net. Poor old Goog is ex­pect­ing more pres­sure as more than 200 mil­lion new peo­ple are set to come on­line next year and ev­ery year there­after. Talk about pres­sure! The first uni­ver­si­ties came about in the fourth cen­tury AD, the first for­mal en­cy­clo­pe­dia didn’t ap­pear un­til the 16th cen­tury, the first open pub­lic li­braries ap­peared in the 19th cen­tury and pro­lif­er­ated in the 20th.

Goog in­formed me re­cently that peo­ple without com­put­ers are re­turn­ing to their com­mu­nity li­braries in droves since the eco­nomic down­turn that pre­vents them from spending money on book pur­chases.

Jo­hannes Guten­berg

The very first print­ing press — a ma­chine that pro­vided a method of move­able type that cut down the time it took to cre­ate a printed book was in­vented in Ger­many in 1439 by Jo­hannes Guten­berg. Thirty-seven years later (1476) William Cax­ton pro­duced the first print­ing press in merry auld Eng­land. It was based on Guten­berg’s in­ven­tion. This was be­fore New­found­land was even dis­cov­ered.

From there, var­i­ous other coun­tries ob­tained the same tech­nol­ogy as it swept around the globe. This in­ven­tion en­abled books and printed ma­te­rial to be pro­duced more quickly than copy­ing by hand. It was in­stru­men­tal in the spread of lit­er­acy — more printed ma­te­rial avail­able meant it was nec­es­sary to learn to read.

The print­ing press also cut the costs of printed ma­te­ri­als and even­tu­ally led to the in­ven­tion of the novel which was first tar­geted to­wards women who were con­fined to rais­ing chil­dren at home.

An­cient pre­de­ces­sors

My good buddy Goog asked me to al­ways con­sider his an­cient pre­de­ces­sors.

For ex­am­ple the famed li­brary at Alexan­dria, Egypt was built in circa 323 BC for an ed­u­cated pub­lic — which trans­lated into very few peo­ple since the skills of lit­er­acy were de­lib­er­ately with­held from the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion. For sev­eral cen­turies monks were the keep­ers of the writ­ten word, painstak­ingly tran­scrib­ing and in­dex­ing books as a means of in­ter­pret­ing the word of God.

Ac­cord­ing to Goog, “then sud­denly and mirac­u­lously along came the In­ter­net (his present home) where to and from the most re­mote vil­lages on the planet, he can send as much in­for­ma­tion as is held in thou­sands of li­braries”.

Com­puter ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion through Goog’s ser­vice has just be­gun com­plet­ing its jour­ney from priv­i­leged to widely ac­ces­si­ble - ubiq­ui­tous Goog calls it. Some-

times he uses big words like that.

Lit­er­acy big win­ner

Ever since the in­ven­tion of Ro­man nu­mer­als and let­ters by the Greeks, the de­vel­op­ment of the printed word - books, en­cy­clo­pe­dias, dic­tio­nar­ies and print­ing presses - lit­er­acy has been the big win­ner.

Now with the de­vel­op­ment of the amaz­ing In­ter­net, the most detailed and com­pre­hen­sive learn­ing sys­tem ever in­vented, hope­fully in time il­lit­er­acy could and should ban­ish from the face of the earth.

U. S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­al­iz­ing this has tar­geted multi mil­lions of dol­lars to the de­vel­op­ment of the In­ter­net that he says should in time be avail­able to ev­ery Amer­i­can. Canada must fol­low suite.

It’s a great idea for where is the first place many of us go when we con­duct re­search, seek an­swers, do our writ­ing ( scrib­bling) and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with friends and fam­ily? Goog says about 120K blogs ( web logs) are cre­ated daily. I con­tin­u­ally go straight to my best on­line friend Google.

Im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion

When the In­ter­net was first made avail­able to the pub­lic in 1983, there were just 400 servers. Now 26 years later, there are well over 600 mil­lion and that num­ber is grow­ing yearly.

Goog in­formed me that three bil­lion of us have mo­bile (cell phones and I-Pods) with 1.2 bil­lion new ones to be sold this year. More In­ter­net-en­abled phones will be sold and ac­ti­vated this year than per­sonal com­put­ers.

Twenty-five years ago Ap­ple launched the Mac as “the com­puter for the rest of us.” In 2009 the com­puter for the rest of us is the mo­bile (cell) phone).

That means ev­ery fel­low ci­ti­zen of the world will have in his/her pocket the abil­ity to ac­cess the world’s im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion. As this hap­pens, info search will re­main the ma­jor ap­pli­ca­tion for guys like Goog and Ya­hoo.

For most peo­ple like me it is the rea­son they ac­cess the In­ter­net: to find an­swers and solve prob­lems.

Those old type­writ­ers

Fifty years ago when I was a jour­ney­man-scrib­bler for the old St. John’s Daily News, us re­porters would have to go to the Gosling Memo­rial li­brary, Memo­rial Col­lege or the pro­vin­cial archives then at the Colo­nial build­ing for re­search. Now just about ev­ery­thing I want to know is avail­able a touch of the key­board away on Google.

It seems only like yes­ter­day we had to type our col­umns with the old man­ual Rem­ing­ton and Un­der­wood type­writ­ers. We used car­bon pa­per to pro­vide an ex­tra copy for the ed­i­tor’s file — cor­rect type for er­rors (or a rub­ber) and we fre­quently had to re­place the black and red rib­bon, which con­tained the ink.

I was for­tu­nate by the time I went to work at age 17 to be a touch-typ­ist. I could look at my notes and type. It was fas­ci­nat­ing to watch some of my col­leagues’ tap out their sto­ries with two fin­gers to the key­board. One spe­cial mem­ory I have is that of watch­ing the late Bren Walsh, a su­perb news­man, typ­ing fast as light­ning — with his in­dex fin­gers and with a smol­der­ing cig­a­rette hang­ing from his lips.

A so­cial net­work

Goog says in North Amer­ica nearly 40 per cent of In­ter­net users up­load videos, and glob­ally over 15 hours of video are up­loaded to YouTube ev­ery minute. The Web is very so­cial too. It’s how I met Goog. About one of ev­ery six min­utes that peo­ple spend on­line is spent in so­cial net­work­ing of one type or the other. Free speech is no longer just a right granted by law, but one im­bued by mod­ern day tech­nol­ogy.

Goog’s V.P. and boss Mr. Rosen­berg told him:“Putting the power to pub­lish and con­sume con­tent into the hands of more peo­ple in more places en­ables every­one to start con­ver­sa­tions with facts. With facts, ne­go­ti­a­tions can be­come less about who yells louder, but about who has the stronger data.”

The In­ter­net and search en­gines (like Google and ri­val Ya­hoo) al­low for deeper and more in­formed par­tic­i­pa­tion and rep­re­sen­ta­tion than has ever been pos­si­ble be­fore in our life­time.

I am so grate­ful for our friend­ship over the past few years that I plan on buy­ing Goog a book. I’m plan­ning on send­ing him a copy of “The dic­tio­nary of New­found­land di­alect.”

I bet he has never heard those old say­ings be­fore. Should be in­ter­est­ing to see if down the road (thru Google) we find ex­pres­sions like: “Come ‘ere till I tells ya” or “How’s she ‘goin me son?”

Bill West­cott writes from Florida. Look him up on Google.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.