Good rainy Thursday to you! A few links from last night’s class: That map of online communities, Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice lecture, this particularly awesome link from the Twitter feed, and this one to keep you up-to-date on your memes (have you seen Bed Intruder?), Chris Wilson’s Digg democracy piece, the Forrester engagement ladder, and, if you want some extra reading, take a look at Chris Anderson’s other “BIG IDEA,” Free.
Also, I meant to mention when we were talking about stats last night that the web’s best resource for stats is the Pew Internet & American Life Project. You can find all the stats necessary to convince your bosses just about anything net-related. The web’s best researcher is danah boyd; spend a few minutes looking at her generational studies. When we talked last night about how different the world now is tech-wise, generation to generation, danah’s done some great research on that.
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. Your assignment for the week’s blog: Should we be afraid of Google?
Google could easily be its own course entirely, but we’ll try to take the pulse of search and Google in just two hours next week. There’s way too much the company is doing to even begin to mention it all—did you see this week’s story about its new robot cars?
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.
We’ll spend some time talking about Google and privacy, as well as the amazing algorithms that power the site. Read thisWired piece as some background.
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, this article about Google hating America, and this funny story of Ted Leonsis and how he seized his own page ranking. (Have you seized yours?) Also this funny story about Vice President Cheney on Google versus VP Biden.
Simply Google puts all of the various parts of Google on a single page—it’s an impressive representation! 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? How has real-time search changed the way you use Google? Will it own the wireless arena? Google today also 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 GoogleMaps? I know if you go to my address, you can see my car sitting in the driveway. Google’s Buzz was pretty controversial, which we’ll talk about.
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! And, of course, there’s this new Bing thing, which we discussed last night in the context of its new Facebook deal. What makes Bing different from Google?
So, as you read Battelle, think through these links (like this one), and write your blog, consider this as a your blog post topic: Should we fear Google?
Stay tuned for a separate blog post about your community snapshot.