Google Redefined the Way We Look at Information
Information, by a broad definition, is structured, processed and organised information designed for particular purposes. It gives context to other information and allows effective decision making. For instance, a single customer’s sale in a restaurant is valuable data-this becomes information if the business is able to associate the most common or least common dish with it.
This context is useful because human beings are visual beings. We can see, read and extract meaning from this information. An information booth in a trade show provides information on trends that customers need. At the same time, the information booth connects to the internet. Through social media, clients can connect to other people who have the same interests as them, which is a very important means of creating connections.
When we talk of a business process or activity, we are talking about the whole range of interactions between the systems that provide service and information. We cannot separate information from its role in any business process, as both are continuous data. The idea of an information process cycle can be applied to data processing, as in fact both are part of a continuous data flow. The information in the system continues to change as the system is used, but the meaning of this information also tends to stay constant over time. So it is not surprising that companies measure performance using different metrics at different times.
In the last decade, for example, Google changed the meaning of “searched” when searching for something on the web. “Google search” was a keyword that was already taken and used by Google users. Google made the change as it recognised that searchers were not happy with seeing “Google” as being their top result after they had searched for something. So instead of showing up as the first result for a given search, Google displayed the phrase “Google”, which caused searchers to see other results with the name of “Google”. Many people interpreted this as Google wishing to reclaim some of its user-power, but in actual fact, it was a clever SEO (search engine optimisation) tactics.
In a similar vein, in July of this year, the New York Times printed an article on the “New Moon” project. The project was started in January, and according to the newspaper, was meant to improve “the public’s use of data and technology to make that information available to them”. The project was launched with the goal of “connecting the public to the information they need to get more informed”. However, just days later, the project was “redesigned” to “improve the newspaper’s use of data”.
In conclusion, let’s look at the NYTs “New Moon” experiment. It appears that Google redefined the way we use technology in order to serve up more advertising-focused results. As a result, searchers are not only seeing “Google” in front of their search results, but also other advertisers who may be utilizing the same pay-per-click platform.