Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Google's Chopping Block: one small chop for Google, one giant punch for mankind

      Once my favorite search engine, Google, has just lost my respect.  With all the money that Google has (enough to bail out Europe) why do they have to cut many tools that librarians have come to rely on?  According to typical stock reports, (http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=GOOG) Google made 33.3 Billion dollars this year, and it has a 36% growth rate predicted.  Now why do they think they have to trim operating expenses?   
      Google announced in August that they were removing the News Timeline from their Google News Archive search page.  And... why?  No explanation? This incredible resource for schools is now MIA.    Here's what it looked like when it was in its fledling stages in 2009.  As they grew, they added newspaper content that only helped teachers easily navigate primary sources.   They seemed so proud of this new idea when they launched it in 2009.

        We are fostering a greater digital divide in America with these decisions.  Is it likely that someday the only free content will be fee-based?  Will they cut their Google Books next?  Will Getty images and Reuters be the sole source providers of quality images.   (Shout the wikimedia cheer here.  Clap for Creative Commons!  However, the history has been told in news form and we are likely to see our news sources disappear. 
         Fast forward ten years:  With the demise of print sources, it is likely that the archives will disappear.  Where will quality resources be when they haven't been printed?  At least the small publishers had an opportunity for a big behemouth such as Google to help them archive their print as long as they were printing.   Also on the chopping block were: Google Image Swirl, Google Squared and more as mentioned in this Larry Page, Google Post . Now while I understand the rational behind some of the recent chops, the Newstime line was a shock.
    While we know the APP market will continue to grow and the computer use will shrink, I believe there is merit to leave valuable products in existance that were for the benefit of mankind.  After all, what else are they to do with the $33 billion which will grow to $44 billion next year?  

Visit the Google Lab site and see which applications were casualties and which "graduated."  http://www.googlelabs.com/   Excuse my soap box, but in education we sincerely appreciated every great free source, Larry Page.  

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