Does The ‘Googlization Of Everything’ Worry You? A UT Alum Says It Should (Listen)

How many times have you used Google today? 

When I fired up Safari this morning, it went straight to iGoogle. I’ve since searched for a few things and checked Gmail probably a dozen times. Later I have plans to get directions on Google Maps, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t reference The Alcalde on Google Books.

I’m pretty sure I interact with Google more than most people in my life. In fact, Google may know more about me than 95 percent of my Facebook friends. I certainly give it more of my time than anything made of paper and ink. And you know what? I love it. 

As Siva Vaidhyanathan, BA ’94, PhD ’99, Life Member, puts it in the title of his new book, we are experiencing The Googlization of Everything. But, wait, what’s that in parentheses? We should worry about this?

Yes, argues Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Google, for all its magnificence (and he admits, most of the time it’s “beyond belief, high quality, better than we could have imagined”), can be worrisome too. “It’s dangerous if we don’t understand it properly. And it’s dangerous if we just take it for granted,” he says.

In a podcast with the University of California Press, which published the book, the author discusses his concerns including how Google has blurred the line of public and private utility and why its near-monopoly on Web advertising should be closely monitored. 

“Google is hailed by people all over the country — including the president of the United States — as an example of what we do right in this country. And I’m willing to go along with most of that,” Vaidhyanthan says. “I just feel it’s not so healthy to worship a company on those terms, when the company essentially governs so many important resources that have a tremendous effect on how we choose to govern ourselves and how we make decisions in our lives.”

Listen to the rest of the podcast below, then let us know what you think. And if you want to hear more, Vaidhyanathan will be speaking at South by Southwest Interactive. Check Google for details


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment