This morning I spent an hour and a half showing a group of journalists at the BBC World Service how I use RSS, social networking services, social bookmarking, my blog and other tools. As I did, it dawned upon me that I don’t use google anymore.
I’m no huge fan of Google. I think they own far too many pieces of what many users consider to be essential parts of the internet – search, gmail, blogger, feedburner, adsense and more. And because most of us use these tools, often every day, Google knows a heck of a lot about us. But this isn’t a post about hating Google or, for that matter, any other search provider.
Social media has not only made me less dependent upon web search tools, it has set me free from them. I quite honestly can’t remember the last time I searched for something online yet I use the internet every day all day, from the time I set foot out of my house and use my mobile to get online whilst on my commute to work, whilst at work, then on my way home and often late into the evening. Instead of searching, I now ask my contacts on twitter or facebook and, if time isn’t of the essence, I might also check del.icio.us. The same is true with browsing. I don’t mindlessly wander the internet looking for stuff anymore, I let my contacts, followers and friends online suggest content. And, just occasionally, my usage of a social networking site will lead to them showing me an advertisement that is actually well enough targeted that I click, although this is rare.
Is this the end of search? I seriously doubt it. But it’s a big change in the way I use the internet and I’m sure it’s not just me who doesn’t bother with – doesn’t need – to visit a web search page anymore.