Googling with my newest best friend ‘Goog’
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.
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.
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.
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.