Why Google Instant is a Bad Idea

Most people know that I studied social media in graduate school. But, most don’t know that I also studied how people experience Time. Time with a capital T can actually be broken down into various dimensions. Some of these dimensions are: urgency, precision, scheduling, and pace. We all have 24 hours in a day but how we experience those hours is vastly different, even when our tasks are similar. While I applaud the fact that Google wants to save us a few milliseconds a search, I am not convinced that trying to guess my thoughts is the way to go.

Why Predictive Technology is a BAD IDEA

Google recently introduced Google Instant. Long gone are the days where you had to WAIT a few seconds for Google to deliver your results. Now, Google will deliver them as you TYPE. That’s right. Before you even finish a thought, Google will provide you with helpful suggestions. Can you imagine Google Instant as a date?

Me: I love dog..

Google Instants: Dogs? Dogging? Dog toys? Dogs for sale?

Me: Just dogs… (Check Please!)

What can I say? I don’t like the idea of my friends or my search engines trying to guess my thoughts as I try to construct them myself. I am, however, okay with it suggesting relevant searches after I’ve completed my query. I even appreciate such ingenuity.

“Did you also want to search for some dessert recipes while searching for entrée recipes, Shama?” Google asks kindly.

Why, yes Google. Thank you!

I worry about Generation Z…or whichever comes next

I am a big proponent of technology, and I’ve always believed that as a society it helps us more than it hinders us. In this case, I am not so sure. As a Millennial/Gen Y, I’ve always felt that technology has helped my generation.

But, what about future generations? How do you learn to communicate and to construct thoughts in an efficient manner when you never get the chance to do so? I gave up my math skills thanks to a dependency on the calculator. Do I want my children to give up their cognitive thought processing abilities thanks to a dependency on Google?

I think not.

What if Google EXCLUDES you?

And, what would happen if you offended the Google Gods? What if Google decides that you aren’t worthy enough or algorithmically okay enough to be a part of their database? What if it had no references to you? You’d cease to exist online because of people’s dependency on this search engine. You may blame me for being dramatic, but in this case it isn’t far from the truth. Just look at the millions of websites that no one will ever see because they can’t be found.

Is it possible for search to be faster than your mind can process? What happened to “Do No Evil?”

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  1. This is the problem with pretty much ALL predictive models. Because you know that the algorithm is trying to predict what you want, there are people who will go against the algorithm and try to trick it or find something not on there.

    I’m like you in that I generally know already what I want to find and where to find it; I merely need to type the search terms I’ve decided on into Google and search through the results. That’s how I’ve gained the high-level research and critical-thinking skills that I have. Take that away, and the possibility that you find some random website that is exactly what you’re for is thus minimized.

    Yeah, the Google Instant feature seems to me that it would cause a lot of consternation for people who are high-level researchers. It might be good for random searchers, but that’s about it.

  2. I don’t think that prediction per se is the problem. After all, Google’s been doing predictive suggestions for quite awhile now. The issue is Instant amplifies predictions to the point of distraction.. instead of simply a drop down box with five suggestions, you get that PLUS ten search results changing with every word.

    There’s a reason why libraries are quiet. Distraction is education’s natural enemy. Librarians will softly suggest a handful of books on the topic you’re looking for – but they’ll sure wait until you’ve finished describing what you’re looking for!

  3. I’m so glad that someone else thinks Google Instant is a bad idea! The calculator analogy is perfect, too.

    • Thanks Betsy! = )

  4. GI may have some positive things such us bringing upfront that hidden website from the third page results…but that is probably only going to be useful for zombie or dummy searchers who need everything done for them (even thinking!). I personally like the fastness but hate loosing control over my search… someone i dont know is conditioning the way I search!

    • Cesar – I am with you. I’d like my search engines to follow my commands – not the other way around. = )

  5. I’m not a fan of Google Instant either. I’m glad that there is the option to switch it off – hope they don’t remove it.

  6. Courage is actually going from failing to failing with out losing commitment

  7. I have found Instant causes issues with my search from time to time … I will try to switch it off and see if they solves some the issue..

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