Group 4 Commentary

Brandon, Brittney and Meagan please provide your commentary on any ideas raised, or neglected, in the question, response and discussion process during the preceding week. And if so inclined you may revisit and comment on previous questions, responses, discussions and commentaries.

Brittney's Thoughts

I really enjoyed our conversation in class on Monday. The issue I think with our material was that it was all introductory and very obscure with nothing to really sink your teeth into about Google and its effects. We have all experienced Google and therefore I think a lot of our discussion revolved around perceptions of it and the effect it has on society. Before class I jotted down some discussion points in case any of us got stuck and needed something to jump off to generate discussion. I didn't get to all of them though. I can't decide if that was a good or bad thing though. One somewhat frustrating part about the discussion was that people wouldn't outright answer some of the questions presented. Participants would skim the surface of an issue but not delve deep down into. I know I am to blame mostly for that because my ability to articulate my words usually falters, but Meagan and Brandon both presented questions that I thought were very pertinent. Meagan's question about Google "fucking with the magic" I thought was especially interesting because I wondered what really constituted as "the magic." Some points that were raised in discussion that I thought were very interesting, however, include: Google advertising opening the door for small businesses; Google's largeness will eventually cause innovation to become stagnant within the company; and its effects on our generation's perception of work. Liz brought up a really interesting point by saying that "search engines are necessary." This I thought was intuitive of where the future of mankind lies, totally dependent on technology. We already are to a certain extent as brought up in discussion, but for complete dependence, that is a scary thought to me personally.

I was really glad that a lot of the class participated and there was very little dead air. That was my biggest fear going into this. There's a lot about Google that is interesting and people were willing to talk about it. It was neat to find out that people never really thought about Google before. It was just a search engine to them. I think by the end of the book, future class discussions will show the changes or affirmation of opinions. Mike was really all about the idea that 'who cares if Google is big; it does what it's supposed to." I think that's the opinion a lot of people take. That's the opinion a lot of people take with regards to business, the government, education, etc. As long as it works, who cares? I think it will be interesting to see what happens in the future with Google as a company and the relationships it creates with governments, businesses and users.

Brandon's Thoughts

Unfortunately we were unable to cover specific topics in my chapter during class discussion, but regardless of our planned presentation, the conversation ended up being quite interactive and exciting. Before our discussion, I had never recognized the monopoly that Google had over the internet in general, not just other portals and search engines. I found it interesting that in the first chapter, Google stated that their main mission was to host a search engine based strictly on user generated results rather than advertising. However, nearly every popular website that I access has advertisements on them, and what's in the small right hand corner of the ad? The small caption stating "Ads by Google." So although Google still returns search result based on common user preference, it had almost completely taken over the internet advertising base. It's even starting to influence government policy.

Our conversation circulated mostly around how much we trust Google, whether or not we as a generation could survive its collapse, and also if Google's internet monopoly is a good thing or not. The class seemed very engaged in discussion, which is why we got a bit off topic, although we were all heading in the right direction. I was a little bit worried because the beginning chapters were so introductory and a little bit dry, so it was great that we trampolined off some simple, historical topics into a complex conversation about Google's role in each of our lives. Most of the responses hinted that Google is indeed a good thing, even if it's starting to influence international relations. We all use it, it works, and it beats the library. That's what it all came down to.

Meagan's Thoughts

During our presentation, as Brittney and Brandon also noted, we did not get to all the points we’d outlined/drafted to present to the class (and, unfortunately, this applied most specifically to Brandon’s chapter); however, this ended up being my favorite part. I thought the conversation was really interesting because it continued to build on itself, morphing and becoming more complex as the class pushed the topics further and then began relating them to their own lives and experiences. Classes often focus heavily on the outlined material, but with topics like the ones brought up in this class – and even more specifically, the underlying ideas expressed in Googled – I believe that discussing the effects digitalization and web 2.0 technologies have on our society and our individual lives brings a better understanding of the way we are applying and processing these changes as they are happening. It was extremely interesting for me personally to hear how my peers see Google and our reliance on the internet in general because it presented perspectives different from my own and, more often then not, presented a way of seeing these ideas that hadn’t occurred to me previously. I feel that the interaction and discussion which is such an integral part of this class ends up being one of our greatest assets. As we collaborate, we pick the subjects apart and often end up progressing into new ideas by building off each others experiences and opinions – without these (not wholly controllable) discussions, we might not have unearthed some of the more interesting connections that I feel we exposed during our presentation.

The overall consensus that Google is a monopoly but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if it’s the best source available, threw me off at first. But as our discussion continued and the class and presenters alike provided reasons why Google’s monopolistic tendencies were capable of both providing benefits and creating problems depending on the way the “future unfolds,” we were able to digest that Google’s way of doing business was either going to continue to revolutionize the internet or eventually cause it to stagnate (consequently causing continued loss of jobs in the process). I thought it was interesting that, in the end, our conclusion was that the outcome is not truly predictable at this time…and that we’ll just have to wait and see.

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