Flipped lecture: Search

Just google it…

Imagine someone offering to sell you a tattslotto ticket. You declined. Your arch enemy bought the ticket. They won first division.

That’s what it was like for many investors given the opportunity to invest in Google in its early years. It seems like a no brainer, but back in the 90s, it was the first of its kind to use links between web pages to assess the relevance of search results. And people were sceptical. A company called excite, a competing search engine had the first opportunity to buy Google for a mere million dollars. For a company thats worth nearly two hundred billion dollars, you’d be spewing.

Most people I know wouldn’t think twice about using a different search engine. When I accidentally end up on Yahoo it feels wrong, despite the fact that its been around longer.

Google has become more than the name of a search engine. I googled ‘how much is Google worth’ to write this post. I use gmail, not email. Nobody has ever asked me to yahoo something. We google it, we don’t browse the web for it. In all the chaos of the internet boom, I know I will find answers on google.

Watch the video here

Search engine comparison

I chose to compare the results of three different search engines:

– google

– duckduckgo

and

– instagrok

I ranked them:

1. google

2. instagrok

3. duckduckgo

Instagrok was set out in a way that allowed me to work with and annotate the results. It provided different layouts as well, catering for different learning types. It took a while to load, however, and did not offer obvious links to other sites. I would use it again for school research, but only in combination with another search engine.

Duckduckgo was faster than Instagrok but the colour and font looked less professional than google, which it was more similar to.

Google still stands as my favourite search engine, and it knows it too. It was the quickest and the most accurate. It offers definitions as other search engines do, but the  search results are more relevant.

Google Alerts

I recently set up three google alerts for things that interest me:

  1. Harry Potter 
  2. Ed Sheeran
  3. Cyclone Oswald

Using these alerts, I found out the following things in 24 hours about my interests, without having to do anything but open an email:

I found this a really convenient way of keeping track of things I’m often googling.  The answers were there in my email for when I  wanted them and I did not have to check them.

However, it got me thinking about our need for information. Is it really necessary to find out everything about a news story or your favourite series without looking? To me, it was my computer encouraging me to be lazy. While it saves time, this method of sourcing new information is pretty full on.

I’m not denying that the internet and google have done a lot of great things for us, but shouldn’t we at least try to pretend our lives aren’t been entirely consumed and ran by machines, and stalk our favourite artists all on our own like big kids?

These google alerts can be cause for information overload, should you let them. While reading an article about this concept, I started to feel more comfortable with my opinion that these alerts aren’t all that necessary. The article deals with the fact that we are all students when it comes to the internet and social networking. While it admits that this is all a revolution  I support the claims that state in terms of our internet usage,

“there is a very real human cost of social connectivity”.

I feel that creating alerts for every single update on whatever we chose is one facet of the internet that will cost us. My final thoughts on the subject revolved around this: Is it really that hard to just google something again?

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The mentioned article can be found here: http://www.briansolis.com/2012/05/the-fallacy-of-information-overload/