What’s Google good for?
Need to know the latest headline news? The weather in Boca Raton? A quick answer to a simple question, like: “Hey, who won the Best Actor Oscar in 1997?”
Need a picture of someone famous to put in your post? You’ll find it on Google, no problem. Need a portrait of an actor or politician? Need a painting of a giant cockroach cooking dinner? Google it! Google will give you lots of choices, a few of which are presumably not copyright infringements.
Need to get some information about an obscure medical condition? Want to know which hospital has the most up-to-date treatment for it? Google may have the answer. It’s not a substitute for a diagnosis, but it’s a jumping off place. Want to know the side effects of your new medication? Google will to give you more information than you really wanted. You probably won’t like most of it.
What else is Google good for? If you believe a lot of recent blogs, you’d think Google is the route to all knowledge, the all-purpose cure-all for every question, every problem. Recipes, diets, travel, reviews, buying, selling … you name it, you can do it on Google. Or can you? Really?
Google can help you get a good idea where to look for more serious information. If you are serious about learning and want to do more than scratch the surface, Google is the place where you line up your water fowl and figure out which are geese and swans versus the real ducks. After that?
I look for books to buy. For example, you cannot learn anything of value about ancient Chinese porcelain on Google. All you can find are additional sources which might lead to better material.
You can learn the rules of baseball by Googling it, but if you want to play the game, you’ll have join a team. Some things, you’re better off asking someone. “Grandma? Could you show me how to crochet?” Or take a class.
You are not going to really learn a language on line, not well enough to really communicate, but you might find out who gives courses or where to find a tutor.
History? Ornithology? Identifying wild flowers or butterflies? Buy a couple of books or borrow them from a library. Anyone who is even slightly serious about drilling deep into a subject knows Google is the where you commence the search. It isn’t where you end it.
Google is intrusive, ubiquitous, careless of privacy and copyrights. It is many other bad things. But when you need basic information pronto, Google is the best way to get going.
Imperfect it may be, but there isn’t a better way. Or even a reasonable alternative.