Friday, July 4, 2014

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

As part of my Understanding Media by Understanding Google Course, I was assigned several books. Unfortunately, none of them are available in the school library here, but thankfully, Scribd had a two of them. What Would Google Do is one of them,

To summarise the book in one sentence, it looks at what Google does, and how that will impact various fields such as Media, Public Welfare, Utlities, etc. Some of the areas that he looked at seemed very unlikely to be affected by Google, but the basic question asked is: what would happen if there was no middleman controlling the flow of information?

Whether you like the first part of the book, where he talks about how Google is changing things such as publicness, society, economy and others, or whether you prefer the case study is really a personal preference. Personally, I liked the first half of the book, but that's because the arguments brought up there were new to me and thus more interesting. The second half of the book is really an application of what the first half says, so it felt a bit repetitive at times.

This book is so optimistic that it's hard to be skeptical of what he's saying. The author is definitely persuasive when it comes to making a case for his new world. But, I wonder how much of it is applicable to countries such as China. For some, like how the media will change, I found his forecasts to be interesting and believable, but I still remain doubtful about whether his forecasts of things like healthcare will come true.

All in all, this book is an interesting read. If you're curious about Google and its impact on society today (and how it might impact us in the future), this is a good book to read. I'll leave you with a quote that I really like from the book:

We no longer need companies, institutions, or government to organise us. We now have the tools to organise ourselves. We can find each other and coalesce around political causes or bad companies or talent or business or ideas. We can share and sort our knowledge and behavior. We can communicate and come together in an instant. We also have new ethics and attitudes that spring from this new organisation and change society in ways we cannot yet see, with openness, generosity, collaboration, efficiency. We are using the internet's connective tissue to leap over borders - whether they surround countries or companies or demographics. We are reorganising society. 

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