“Without its search engine, and the other engines that have been built on its model, the Internet would have long ago become a Tower of Digital Babel.” (156)
Google has become our major search engine. We can look anything up, whenever we like, wherever we are. If we need an answer to a question, or a problem, Google is there. If you want to know why you’re having certain symptoms, Google is there. If you don’t know what to get your mom for her birthday, Google is there. It seems that Google is there for literally anything you may need, and at any time. From credible websites, to random people commenting on Yahoo, to Wikipedia, their search engine will bring you to thousands of websites that relate to what you are typing in that search box. Is this a problem? Or is this good to have?
“Google is, quite literally, in the business of distraction.” (157) This is how Carr sees Google. He may be right, but I believe this applies to a certain extent. When it comes to learning or reading books, Google is a distraction. It is a distraction when you should be learning a certain way. For example, Carr mentions reading books online. Carr says when we read online, “we read faster than ever.” And I believe this to be true. When reading online, “we’re no longer guided toward a deep, personally constructed understanding of the text’s connotations.” When he said this, it reminded me of when I read poetry every week for a class I took. For me, to truly understand the poem, I had to decode the text. I needed to understand every word and how they related to each other. I had to run my fingers under each line of the poem. I had to circle or underline words that were strong in the poem. This is why reading from a book, and not online, was better for me. I learned by physically holding the book and reading it. However, this is where the greatness of Google came in.
When reading a poem, or any type of text, if I don’t understand a word, I Google it. This broadened my knowledge of words I had never known before. This helped me understand the poems. It is just like a dictionary, but better. I can look up the words easier and faster. I don’t have to flip the pages of a dictionary to find word after word. I could find what multiple words meant in minutes, and understood the poems faster. Although Google allowed me to do this, it does not mean I forgot what the word had I meant. I applied it to my reading.
Carr says Google is neither God nor Satan, but I think it is both. Google can be good or bad, depending how you use it. You can let Google erase your ability to learn, or let it strengthen it.
It’s up to you.