The Google Effect



Dependency on the Internet and Google for instantaneous answers results in less ability to recall information, a concept otherwise known as the Google Effect.

Caitlyn Truong, Photojournalist

In the era of digitality and modernism, technology becomes a useful tool utilized by nearly all who may afford it. Technology, whether it be in the form of a phone or computer, has diffused exponentially across the world; as it does so, it is accompanied by unforeseen effects on both society and the individual. One such consequence includes the Google Effect.

The Google Effect is described by the Independent as a type of “digital amnesia” as a result of the popular search engine, Google, as well as the connotations of the word Google. For example, the phrase “Google it” is widely known, accepted, and used to effectively convey a request to search a topic online. However, Google is not a verb, nor is it the only search engine available. The company has simply become so influential that it is relied upon for searching anything and everything.

Specifically, the Google Effect is an interesting phenomenon in which people know and recall less information because they are intuitively aware of Google, or the Internet in general, at their instant disposal, according to the Independent. The answers become less emphasized as they become easier to obtain. Psychology Today also noted a Harvard study which found that rather than consulting personal memory, people will first turn to computers and the Internet when faced with any question. As a result, people are retaining less because they realize the other options available to them.

Widespread access to the Internet, as well as its instantaneity, allows for the Google Effect to influence society. According to Business Insider, Google processes over 3.5 billion searches a day. Each search takes less than a second to present millions of different websites and sources with a consistent answer to the question searched. It is moreover extremely accessible due to the recent age of technology which allows anyone to access the Internet so long as they have a service connection. The simplicity of Google makes it irresistible to disregard depending on the unreliable human mind in favor of receiving an answer in a matter of seconds.

This effect, however, does not necessarily have to be associated with negativity and anti-technology sentiment. Rather, the Google Effect should serve as a reminder of the results of allowing technology to play such a large role in daily life. After becoming aware of this concept, Taylor Tran (10) comments, “It’s definitely kind of strange to know about how things as common as Google affect us. I think Google’s great, but we should probably start becoming less dependent on technology in general.” Technology holds immense beneficial potential if utilized correctly; while it is remarkable that a tool such as Google exists and is so readily accessed, it also cannot be abused until mankind completely lacks the ability to obtain knowledge.