Today I want to write a little bit about Google. This is inspired by David Carr's article in the New York Times Google Seduces with Utility, where he discusses his ever-growing relationship with Google. Check out his article. I find myself in the same place. Every few months I learn of a new Google application. Sometimes I check them out immediately. Sometimes it takes a while. But more and more I rely on Google for many online services.
Why do i rely the corporate behemoth Google so much? Simply put, the services are generally free, they often interact automatically with other Google services and they just work. They are almost always extremely easy to set up and use. So, yes, I haven't used MapQuest in months because Google Maps is so handy. My personal e-mail is a Gmail account. Another Gmail account manages the listservs I have joined. I understand the power of a "true" RSS reader, but I get behind on reading there, where with iGoogle I can scan dozens ofrecent blog posts and other feeds in a few seconds. When several of us are co-writing an article, we now just force the uninitated to sign up with Google Docs. No more coordinating different versions of an article in e-mail attachments. While I am well aware of the other search engines, why bother when Google almost always gives me the result I seek in the first ten results?
I appreciate the concern some have about the huge power the Google can have by analyzing search data. But who could argue that something like Google Flu Trends is a bad thing? Yes, I fear that I sound like I have drank the Google Kool-Aid.
For example, how about some Google holiday ideas? How about a nice inter-generational exercise where you sit the grandparents (or parents) with the youngsters in front of the computer and do some searching in Google's new Life Magazine photo archive? That should provoke some "i remember when" conversations. Here's a story on the Life collection. Or, again referencing Mr. Carr's article (and a certain TV commercial series) send a webcam off to a distant relative with a high speed connection and use Google Video to share your holiday times with them. I think many of you will try this free form of video conferencing soon. Yes. that Kool-Aid is mighty tasty for now.