Posted by: Rowan | December 11, 2008

Google, my PA

Remember when Google was something you just used to search for stuff? You know – think up a good search string, bang it off and see what came back? And then whittle down the results by tweaking your search? Do you remember that?

Google’s a damn good search engine, I’m not questioning that, but over the last 12 months or so I’m finding that I’ve slowly started relegating the search thing to  ‘Use when necessary’ status.

I think it’s because my iGoogle page has been turning into a bit of an aggregator on steroids. And my need to have to search for stuff has lessened a little – only a little, but enough to notice. The links in the blogosphere do a lot of the searching for me now.

For the record (and waiving all rights to privacy),  iGoogle today is feeding me this:

  • 3 other aggregators; Google internet news, Google news (tabbed: Top / World / NZ / Biz / Tech), and Google Reader (blogs I choose to follow)
  • 2 search boxes (one into Google and one into Wikipedia)
  • A chat interface to my IM contacts
  • My gmail and calendar
  • About 15 or 20 feeds including SMH tech, Slashdot, NZ govt, El Reg, CNN Tech, local weather, APOD, New Scientist, granny Herald, sports, my Facebook profile, BBC, Wired

At a quick count, there are about 30 things feeding into my iGoogle  page at the moment. And it’s busy, but it does a damn fine job of feeding me stuff  I ought to know.

It’s an easy 5-minute scan in the morning, and worthy of a refresh at periodic intervals thereafter. And if there’s something I need to read, I’ll find the time to read it. Or, I can hover over any link and read the first paragraph of the article, and sometimes that’s enough. It might be busy, but it’s also built for speed.

It’s kind of like having a knowledgeable PA on hand briefing me on the state of my world, whenever I ask.

If only I could make it do the stuff I ought to be doing. :-)


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