Is Google Making Us Stupid?

February 26, 2010

People have had many concerns when it comes to today’s search engine giant known as Google. These range from the security and privacy of all our information to how overwhelmingly large and influential they have become. The incident with China hacking into Google and collecting information along with the current privacy issue they are facing in Italy only validate the public’s concerns. It was even shocking to media students to see that Google, who once stubbornly said we’re sticking to word of mouth, have bought into advertising and revealed a commercial for the search engine during the 2010 Super Bowl. While all these topics make us a little apprehensive of the company, there was an interesting concern brought up in this morning’s discussion which I have never really thought about before. Is Google making us stupid?

For a company that started on a small scale and armed with a big idea, their intent of providing the public with easy and limitless access to information is now being questioned as to whether or not it has a positive impact or negative one.

In a short video, from the Atlantic Project, we were able to see an on-the-street take of whether or not the public thought Google was making them stupid. Some took a more positive perspective and stated that this Goliath of a search engine makes them more informed and allows them to self-educate.

On the other hand, people also said Google wasn’t making them stupid, but their reasoning did not seem positive to me. For example, one girl said if she were asked to write a paper for class, all she had to do was look up information online, copy and paste it into her Word document and it was simple for her to do. She never learned anything. This seems to be a more negative idea of the company and completely opposite of what Google intended; and maybe that leads to another question of whether it is the public’s responsibility to know what to do with the information and if it is good and bad? Or maybe it’s the content producer’s responsibility instead?

In my opinion, to be quite blunt, I believe that Google isn’t making us any more stupid than we started out. It offers, as one man on the street said, a breadth of information and a depth that we can determine. It may not exactly provide the depth we could find within books at a library (within your first search) but if you are motivated to dig deep enough and utilize credible sources, then maybe you are getting a certain depth of knowledge that is somewhat equivalent to what some books can provide.

Like everything else, Google has both pros and cons, but maybe our real concern should be focused on how we are using it instead.

So what do you think? Is Google making us stupid?

To view the Atlantic Project video visit: