You Got to Be Kidding Me!

The “Google Generation”

Posted in Uncategorized by Stacy McMahon on September 6, 2008

Glenn Reynolds, linking to a news on memory function research:

And yet, I often have trouble remembering more mundane things, and always have. Seems like the storage part is easier than the retrieval part. (In high-school, we used to joke about Write-Only Memory). This might prove a major handicap if people live longer, requiring some sort of memory training. Or we could do what the Google generation does, and not try to remember anything, since you can just look it up . . . .

And “remember” it more accurately and in much greater detail. I have very good memory overall, but I’ve long found that I get the details a little wrong, which can be a big deal. Better to find it in the hive mind, with proper allowance for common sense and the trustworthiness of the source.

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2 Responses

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  1. spugbrap said, on September 7, 2008 at 12:17 am

    This is one reason why I’ve been using Google Desktop for a few years now. It lets me quickly and easily find stuff that I have some memory of, but can’t remember the details of.

    It indexes all my email, IM logs, source code, web browsing history, e-books, school papers, text files of all sorts, programming APIs, and more. With a simple hotkey to bring up a search dialog anytime (tap Ctrl twice), and within seconds I can find the details I need, based on search query syntax I’m used to from using Google for web searches. It also makes it easy to run my query in a web search instead, if the local desktop search isn’t giving me what I need.

    With the amount of data I have it indexing, though, its database files are HUGE, and the application definitely has an impact on my overall system performance. I actually often use the “Temporarily Disable Indexing” option when I’m compiling source code at work, because the build processes deal with copying/manipulating lots of files, and the Google Desktop indexer tries to pay attention to that, lest it miss out on useful data.

    I uninstalled it at some point, because I was sick of the system performance penalty, but I hated not having it! I spent quite a few hours on quite a few days researching other desktop search apps, and tried a few of them out, but something about Google Desktop just works better for my needs.

    I do sometimes notice myself falling into a behavior trap of googling for everything, whether that’s the best way of finding the information or not. I try to catch myself and use common sense, though. Google is great for a lot of things, but it’s not the only way of finding information and getting things done.

    I use many of Googles other webapps/products, too, but I try to stay on top of competing offerings from other companies, in case one of them ends up suiting me better.

  2. Stacy McMahon said, on September 7, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Hey Dave, good to hear from you again!

    I haven’t tried Google Desktop in probably a year or more, so I’ll have to check it out again. I’ve gotten away from the days when I installed every interesting new app that came out (esp. if free) but am getting back to that. I like GIMP pretty well for pics (though Picasa really takes care of 99% of all photo editing that I actually do)

    The local Google search sounds like a great reason to have a 2nd HDD controller for the index files (now there’s an old, old trick..)


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