Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Current Google developments

Even as Google is now taking down 250,000 links per week due to copyright infringement (more than fifty times the amount it took down in 2009 alone), it also seems eager to make its ever-popular search engine all the more appealing and useful. 

It recently released a video describing its new “Knowledge Graph”, which Alex Madrigal, writing in the Atlantic, says “makes the process of Googling something faster, easier, and better”.  Here is that video:

(see here and here if you would like more detailed analysis of the “Knowledge Graph”)

Interestingly, Google has also just re-launched a site that attempts to help instructors to teach about “information literacy”.  It is called “Google Search Education”, and at the site, one will find lesson plans about “picking the right search terms”, “narrowing a search to get the best results”, “evaluating credibility of sources” and more.  

(note that Concordia’s library has done some videos regarding these things as well.  See the tabs on our help page – here is the tab for research steps in particular – I’ll be interested in seeing how they compare!)

In addition, Google's Daniel Russell, their "Uber Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness" (yes, this is his job title), recently did a talk at Princeton: "What Does It Mean To Be Literate in the Age of Google?"  It may be worth your time.   
As to how we might begin to address the notion that Google is the best source for everything, I think the following analogy may be a useful place to start: information is food.