24 May 2006

Google vs. Yellow Pages

Today, the Star Tribune ran a couple of stories about Google Trends. Google Trends shows what people are searching for in different cities. It seems that we search for lefse and beer, among other things.

I usually take Google for granted, because using it has become second nature to me. I use it to answer every question to which I need an answer. I had an e-mail this morning from someone wondering if I had a copy of version of The Streets' "Dry Your Eyes," on which Chris Martin sings. The guy who sent the e-mail said he'd looked for it unsuccessfully and thought that if anyone would have it, I'd be the person. And I do have it, now. I did a Google search on "the streets, featuring chris martin." Lo and behold, there's a link to the song in about the third or fourth link on the page. Why wasn't that the e-mailer's first action? "Well, instead of using Google, I'll just find Jessy's profile and e-mail her through the website to see if she might have it." That's so much extra work.

What would I do without Google? I shudder to think. When I was out with Brian last week we talked about how often we use it. Carrie and I were sitting on the deck last night talking about a variety of things that we need to Google. I probably say "I'll have to Google that when I get home," at least once a night when I go out.

What about the Yellow Pages, you ask? Every day this week when I've come home from work, I've had this inner discussion with myself about Google vs. Yellow Pages. It seems our phone books have arrived, because there are four giant bags from Dex (or whoever the fuck the phone book company is) sitting in front of my door. And every day, I wonder who the hell uses a phone book these days? I rarely even use an online phone book, unless you count the reverse look-up. I Google the business whose phone number I need and get their number from the company's website.

After I ponder the real numbers of people who use a phone book, I start to get pissed. First of all, I didn't ask for these stupid phone books that I'm never going to use. I'm not going to use them, and now it is my responsibility to dispose of them. I get angry because I think of all that wasted paper. Yeah, it may be recycled (though, I haven't a clue if it is or not), but it's still a waste of materials and resources (energy to produce the books?) to make and distribute something to me that I don't want. The disposal of my three (?) unwanted phone books is now weighing on my mind. I finally brought my bag into my apartment with the intention of taking them out back eventually. Just throwing them in the trash isn't good. However, I'm not sure if I can recycle them with my regular recycling. I remember sometime in the past that there are special recycling places for unwanted/old phone books. Though, I could be dreaming that. If that is true, if anyone thinks I am making a special trip to recycle my phone book, they are smoking the crack. Seems kind of counterproductive, anyway, to go out of one's way and waste gas, to recycle something they never wanted.

Plus, the three other bags for the three other units have been sitting on the front steps for days without being picked up. I'm guess if I don't want to see those any longer, I'm going to have to take care of them myself. And by take care of them myself, I most likely mean throw them in the trash. So fuck you, Dex.

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