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May 23

Google is your Frienemy

You know, when I was growing up, in a time that they affectionately call the mid-century 1900’s, finding answers to questions was a bit more challenging that it is today.  There were really only a few sources that you could turn to…

  • Encyclopedias
  • The Library
  • Newspapers
  • A friend or acquaintance that knew the answer

In today’s tech age it’s completely different.  I have a favorite saying, “Google is your friend”.  I probably use it at least once or twice a day.  Sure, if you want to know the date that World War II ended… Google it.  If you want to know George Washington’s birthday… Google it. If you want to know who had the highest batting average in the 1992 World Series — yeah, you guessed it —

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Google searches a vast number of resources in a matter of seconds to get you the answer that you’re looking for.  Sometimes that’s great… but sometimes it can make you nuts.

Let’s say for example a new restaurant opens in your neighborhood.  And you want to know if they have any vegetarian entrees or options.  So the first thing you do is to Google the name of the restaurant.  And Google sends back a list of restaurants with the same name all over the country.  So, now you Google the name of the restaurant and the city… and sure enough… you get a list of links to that restaurant… or at least you think that it’s to the restaurant.  Now remember… you just want to know what vegetarian options they have.

So, where did Google send you?  Well, if the restaurant was smart enough to have a website… maybe it showed up there.  But if they didn’t then you get sent to a list of “secondary” sites like Yelp!, Urban Spoon, Trip Adviser, Menu Pages… you’ve seen them… and frankly they’re all over the board.

So now you start to search those sites for what? — Yeah — Vegetarian Options.  You’ve invested 1/2 an hour trying to find the answer to a simple question and you still haven’t found it!  Isn’t Google great?  Harumph!

Sometimes you need to think before you browse.  You could have had the answer in a minute or so — simply by picking up the phone and calling the restaurant. Yeah… even in a techie world, old school still has it’s advantages!  Let’s use technology smartly, but don’t ever forget the best way to find what you’re looking for. More thoughts about Google in future segments!

Let me know your experiences and any questions you might want me to ponder upon.  Till the next time…  Google is your frienemy!

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