“Just google it.” I have that thought any time I hear someone wondering aloud about something. Last night at dinner, my friends sat there squinting at the back of a guy’s shirt to figure out the location of the cafe advertised on the front of his shirt. On my phone, I googled the cafe and I had an answer in half of a second. “Oh,” my friend said. “You have the answer, and here we are squinting at his shirt.”
I like knowing things. I’m curious. I love seeing connections between subjects and seemingly disparate facts. I also love research. I like to act on my curiosity and satisfy my intellectual itches. I don’t mind working for an answer, either. Books are my friends, and the challenge of understanding something complex invigorates me.
On the other hand, like anyone, I also enjoy instant gratification. Having answers to simple questions at my fingertips is incredibly convenient. So, Google appeals to me. My search history could probably go on for thousands of pages. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s probably not too far off.
The point is this: I’m a fan of Google. But sometimes I wonder about the value of having access to hundreds of thousands of web pages. Wouldn’t a well-written, credible encyclopedia do for most of my inquiries? Probably. It would have to be huge to contain answers to all my questions, but that’s okay. I might remember the answers to my questions better if I had to work for them more. I can recall complex theories and historical facts because I had to work to understand them.
The beauty of Google is its immediacy, but that’s also its downfall. Hmmm. I think it all comes down to how you use the media, including Google. As long as I remember that Google is best for fast answers to easy questions, I’ll be okay. If I want to spend more time online to find long articles and essays, that’s okay, too. And there will always be some answers that are best found in a book.