Google Docs and the New World Student

Google DocsIf you are going to school it is probably hard to imagine a better resume builder than an internship at Google. I suspect that those folks will have a bit of an advantage in an interview situation over the kid who tries to spin his gig waiting tables at the beach for the summer by saying he “managed workflow and expedited product delivery in a fast paced, food related industry.” So what were these busy, industrious over-achievers up to for the summer? Trying to make school easier, of course, through improvements in Google Docs.

It’s moves like this that makes Google both fascinating and scary all at once. There are few, if any, areas of a person’s life that Google is not trying to impact. Of course, they are still first and foremost a search engine but there is very little from an information standpoint that Google is not looking to play in. I can’t decide if I am happy or I have been brainwashed by “The Goog” (the Internet’s version of the Borg for you Next Generation fans) into truly believing that it is a Google world and I am simply allowed to participate in it.

The Google Docs improvements are interesting and the Official Google Blog gives the details.

We created an equation editor so you can easily complete problem sets online or write papers that include equations. If you’re taking math, you can now take notes in class or answer questions using Google Docs.

In the same vein, we also added superscripts and subscripts — perfect for expressing chemical compounds or algebraic expressions

For language enthusiasts, we integrated translation features into Google Docs. You can translate either a single word or an entire document — handy for making sure you’re on the right track when writing those foreign language essays.

For those of you conducting surveys, we added a “Go to page based on answer” option in Google forms, making it easy to show participants only those questions that are relevant to them.

There’s more and it’s pretty cool. The one that got me was the translation service though. How many people are going to be writing their papers in English then handing in the French version that Google produced? While thinking it through makes that seem like a bad idea since one would suspect that the translations are less than perfect, it looks to me like the perfect opportunity for Google “do the work for you!”.

It’s that last idea that I actually fear the most. It’s great to have tools to enhance our capabilities and draw out more of our talent but when does the line cross when we have submitted our creativity and more to the application or service that helps us simply get from point A to point B the quickest but with less effort and actual thought? Of course, the folks over at Twitter and Facebook couldn’t be happier because with all that extra time on their hands students can be sitting around ‘collaborating’ and reducing their entire lives to a pithy saying or two.

Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the Internet today.

  • Steven Roddy

    Technology is so crazy! I wish I had that when I was in my high school Spanish class!
    .-= Steven Roddy´s last blog ..The Most Beautiful Man in the World? =-.