Could you Live Without Google?

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Do you use Google? Could you get along without it for a week? I tried it, and dubbed it Google Fasting. There’s no way I could do that again. It was really tough, believe it or not. I got an email from Mike recently, that raised a thought-provoking question about Google’s power.

Do you feel the power of Google is good for the Internet? With one search engine being used so often, there becomes a potential for abuse. As we become a society who gets our news and history over the Internet, is Google in a position to filter what we know and how much? I read awhile back that a pre-condition of China using Google was that search results could not return any information about the Tiananmen Square incident. More recently, China blocked access to YouTube in the wake of a Tibetan protests. If governments and search engines can weild such power over the Internet, they can effectively remake history, and shape issues of the day.

It’s interesting: we’re at this crossroads. Forever, we’ve lived in a world that had borders. The Internet is a world that has no borders. When we have such an open society on the Internet and try to get that to fit inside existing infrastructures… it’s really scary in a way. It’s potential for anarchy, and breaking down borders. I can guarantee people in power are scared, both in business and in government.

What happens when we transcend our physical presence to connect with other people? Again, I’m telling you… we’re at a crossroads between hierarchy and no hierarchy. Does Google have the potential to limit what we see? Certainly they do. However, if they did something new and open would crop up. I don’t see Google doing anything like that.

If we elevate Google to the position where we can’t live without them, we run the risk of letting them run us. The Internet is pretty big though. Google hasn’t been around forever. Eventually, something could even replace Google. It’s the ebb and flow and ideas of human identity and connections.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. How do you define society? How do you see this playing out? How do you see us moving beyond today?

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