Google: Veni, Vidi, Vici

Hope you’re all Twittering up a storm at your desks this morning. Here are the two reports I mentioned in class about news consumption and beliefs: Bush/Kerry voters (PDF) and Pew’s news consumption study.

We’re going to spend all of next week’s class looking at Google, which has become the most powerful media company the world has ever seen.  It’s so huge that the presidential candidates are beating a path to its door (as are desperate authors like myself). Your assignment for the week’s blog: Should we be afraid of Google?

As you read Battelle, think about what he means search as a database of intentions. What impact does this have for better and worse? In class next week, we’ll watch a video about Googlezon, predicting one possible future.

Make sure to also check out this Economist article, this piece by Google about why it remembers searches, some Google tips and tricks, this explanation of page rank, and this funny story of Ted Leonsis and how he seized his own page ranking.

Simply Google puts all of the various parts of Google on a single page—it’s an impressive representation—and Scoble, whom we discussed last night and the author of NC, says there’s DOG afoot! Could Google end up owning the internet? Could sites like del.icio.us do search better? Yahoo!, the perennial also-ran in search, has been expanding too, although as you probably saw Microsoft may end up owning Google. Will Google kill Wikipedia? Will it own the wireless arena? Google today encompasses some huge brands, like Blogger we mentioned last night and YouTube, so here’s some YouTube history for you. Here’s a Google cheat sheet.

GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps are incredible products, putting resources that in our lifetimes once belonged only to the wealthiest and most advanced governments in the hands of anyone. Here’s some fun stuff about them. Have you looked for your house in GoogleMap? I know if you go to my address, you can see my car sitting in the driveway.

Want some alternatives to Google? Try this resource for 100 other search engines or use Googlonymous. Why do alternatives matter? Because it turns out that what you find depends very much on where you search!

Also, try to send me an email this week about how class is going for you. I’ve thrown a lot at you in the last two weeks—do you feel like you understand the material? Are we covering too much in class? Too little? Am I talking too much? What do you need from me to be able to do better and learn more? I want to make sure that you all are equipped at the end of the class to navigate the digital world and so if we need to spend another week on blogging, online communication and PR tips, etc., we certainly can do that.

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