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2 months ago

How Google Search is Changing Us.

 

Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google is the most widely used search engine in the world. People have become so dependent on Google that we search anything and everything -- including serious matters like health-related problems. Sometimes people would rather check Google first before even considering having checked by health professionals. At a certain point, it began to seem as if all knowledge and lots of purchase decisions are determined by Google search and the internet.

 

Of course, there are other search engines but Google has managed to stand out over the years, being one of the oldest brands and their constant evolution. Since the last decade, the Google search has seen many changes be it its algorithm or emerging technology like Machine Learning or AI. This has also affected how a normal person searches on google, previously we have to type the complete query in the search but now we see that we don't have to type more than 1 or 2 words for our query because of its knowledge about our interests, search pattern, etc. Also, the search shows various other options that we may like to see. Google search has developed over time to show snippets in response to questions, which makes it easy for people to quickly find the information they are looking for. Even more than ever, people who write content and provide information are now honing their skills to offer valuable content to Google search users.  

Google is developing brand loyalty on a large scale. Nearly everyone, tech-savvy or otherwise, uses Google as their search engine of choice -- over 90% of users globally, in fact. They've marketed their brand as trustworthy and a great place to work, and they've rolled out innovations in several markets, from Internet routers to business research tools. Google search is the hit that got us all hooked, and now the company relies on brand loyalty to sell us basically anything. In other words, Google search has converted us into avid consumers of Google's brand, putting the company on the fast-track to becoming one of the biggest monopolies in the world. 

Like most technologies, Google Search brings
both positive and negative changes. In a way, the tool makes online search more practical by providing snippets, lists, and suggestions. This digital tool has become so efficient that many users simply don't have to open multiple tabs anymore. Whether you want to know the touristic spots in New York or just the ingredients that go in a recipe, all the basic information can be found right after you search for something online.

The changes google search sponsors

I would argue that Google search is strengthening certain productive aspects of human nature and suppressing others.

Google search became our advisor in any matter, we search for 'the best food near me’, 'the cheapest car’ or even ask it for medical diagnosis. If we want to know something, we ask Google, even if it is the most personal information about us or an important aspect of our life. 
The changes for website owners
that Google has introduced to our lives, mean more effort in preparing the high-quality content that would meet users expectations and constant flexibility to meet the requirements of search engine algorithms. That is how the SEO profession (Search Engine Optimization) actually came about. The SEO profession involves studying what people are typing into Google, but what happens if those people don’t know what they’re looking for? The interesting thing is that keywords are a measure of intent, this is the art of keyword research SEO professionals engage in.

An SEO specialist said, in regard to the above, ‘I know the power of Google better than most - if you do not appear in Google's search results (and the higher the better, of course!) then chances are, you don't exist. In the past, if we were asked a question we didn't know the answer to, we needed to either take out an encyclopedia we owned or make the trip to the library. Today, we just type in whatever we need and millions of possible answers are shown to us in a matter of milliseconds. The World Wide Web is 
a bottomless well of knowledge and information and on one hand, it makes us 
more informed and better connected to the rest of the world than ever 
before.

The urge (and some might argue, need) to make informed decisions is definitely a productive behaviour that Google has sponsored. Typically, when we perform a Google search outside of formal settings like work or school, it is because we are indulging a natural curiosity to fill a gap in our knowledge.

Importantly as well is that Google search has positively had a significant effect on how businesses market themselves. Instead of paying for an ad in a phone book, many businesses use the paid search features in addition to establishing good organic SEO practices. If you're not on the first page of Google, you're not going to get much traffic to your site. If you have one of the top spots on the first page, you'll get a lot more traffic to your website

The biggest change that I believe Google Search does to humans is the fact of immediate response. Nowadays, Google has optimized their search so well that - most likely - you'll get an answer without the need of clicking on any of the links. In some cases, you don't even need to leave the search tab if you're using Google Chrome as they show some of the answers right there! This is opposed to a few years ago when one would have to stretch a bit to find an answer using Google Search. At best you had to type in your query, use one of the suggested links and look for the specific part of the webpage that answers your query. Invariably, Google Search makes us more and more used to getting an immediate answer to any question we have. I believe that it's great we can access any information we want so quickly, but it may also result in a scenario where a person who doesn't get an immediate response drops the search and never comes back to learn about that particular thing.

 

On the downside

 

Google Search has contributed to us being more dependent on our phones than ever before. People don't take the time to look things up in advance anymore. They know they can easily access Google at any point to search for where to eat, how to get somewhere, where to find help, and more. Without it, many people feel lost. It seemingly has an answer for anything and is well-trusted. In a way, it's made our lives less stressful. Yet, whenever we lose access to it, we start to unravel. When you lose internet access overseas and can't look up how to get back to your hotel, for example, it becomes quite evident just how dependent you are on it.

Google search has subtly developed the habit of skimming through information for people and they end up not retaining much from the search results. Google search makes us lazy. We prefer to check everything on the internet instead of using books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, or ask someone in person. In fact, it may weaken our communication skills. Google understand our intentions better and better, so we have started to write full sentences as search queries instead of short simple keywords. It is also shifting due to increasing usage of voice search. Google search can heighten some of our worst and least productive impulses such as overconfidence and excessive reliance on a source of quick answers that are not necessarily complete or accurate. Additionally, Google search can reduce the likelihood that our decisions are well-researched because we tend to make the false assumption that the first page of results will give us all the information we need. 

Another thing is, it’s making people lazy. We can find a result in seconds, especially to simple fact-based questions like “when was The Godfather released?” But since we don’t have to do much to arrive at that answer, really only a couple of casual keystrokes, then I don’t think the information sticks as well as if we’d had to work for it. We’re living in a world of more information and less depth of understanding. But it ain’t stopping any time soon. 

The level of efficiency Google search has grown to possess over time has also become a problem. This world of snippets briefly answered questions, and easy access can also lead to incomplete information. The consequences may not sound very risky when we're talking about fun destinations or recipes but can become quite serious if people start getting information only from these shortcuts, especially if they intend to share it online. 

Change is however constant and inevitable. So as users,
the best we can do is to fact-check the things we read and try to always read articles in their original contexts. Shortcuts are indeed useful, but they shouldn't be used all the time or under all circumstances. The Internet and Google, in particular, have irreversibly changed the world and there is no running away from it. All we can do is simply adapt and make the best of it!

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Credits- PratibhaVuppuluri, Sahil Chauhan, Jakub Kliszczak, Liz Jeneault, Julia Cieślak, Michael Terwindt, Irena Zobniów, Natalia KameckaJulia Askin, Alice Stevens, Rochelle Burnside .

 

 

Anita O.

Lover of tech and blockchain.

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