Since my earlier post today was more a book promotion than anything else, here’s the — ahem –real blog post.
Many a days I feel like there’s not enough hours in a day to get everything done. I don’t have kids — and don’t know how people who do, get it done (they probably subscribe to Remember the Milk or have superpowers) — but I have a full-time job, a daily blog, a husband, and my iPad to devote time to.
Google is doing all kinds of things to make my life more efficient. Two weeks ago they rolled out the Priority Inbox feature in Gmail — it’s supposed to show me all the “important” e-mails at a glance while pushing everything else down below to a category called, well… Everything Else.
According to the Gmail Blog:
Email is great, except when there’s too much of it. Priority Inbox automatically identifies your important email and separates it out from everything else, so you can focus on what really matters.
And now, we have the new Google Instant Search (launched amidst much fanfare on Wednesday).
Again, the Google Blog team analyzes:
Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.
Also, the blog goes on to tell me that their testing has shown Google Instant “saves the average searcher two to five seconds per search.”
Two to five seconds! Can you imagine how much that adds up to if everyone all over the world used Google Instant? 11 whopping hours.
But before you get excited, that’s 11 hours shared between 422 million daily Google users!
Nevertheless,you’re saving something! So, I’m thinking that all the seconds saved between scanning search results as I type and having a bot weed out unimportant e-mails for me, will now allow me to spend an extra minute tracking visitors to my blog and probably allow me 57 more seconds of Angry Birds swatting out mean pigs.
I may even, if the bots in Gmail get trained fast and are effective, scan 20 more tweets every four hours in any given day!
Can you believe how much better all this time-saving will make my life?
In an age where we’re teaching our kids (well, technically where you are teaching your kids) that patience is something they don’t need to bother with, Google is probably going to become the frontrunner in mindless instant gratification. Why use your brain to think of keywords? Why waste time organizing your e-mail? Why wait for search results to show up — even when the wait amounts to a couple of milliseconds? Why not save time when you can?
But to do what? What are we going to do with all these time savings? Browse more? Tweet more? Look up more friends’ Facebook status updates? Send and receive more e-mails? We’re still going to be as hooked to gadgets as we are now — maybe even more so.
These advances in technology are only going to make us bigger slaves to it. We’re not freeing up any time to do anything that’s really important.
It’s all just a gimmick to make us feel we have more time. To make us think we are now more efficient. To fool us into believing we are using our brains better.
We’re just buying into the mind-numbing hype of no returns.
What do you think?
Article first published as The Zero Value of Google’s Mind-Numbing Time-Saving Strategies on Blogcritics.