Is Google Faster Than The Library?

from the maybe-not... dept

When you need to find out some information, these days, most people turn to a search engine first. Is that the smartest choice? The Guardian has decided to do a very informal test to see just how effective Google is in answering certain questions, compared to a well-connected person on a phone and someone in a library. The basic answer is that it depends on what you’re looking for. It also appears to depend on how good you are with Google, how strong your personal phonable network is, or how adept you are at finding info in the library. However, it is worth pointing out that Google isn’t always the best place to go. In the informal test, Google was only the fastest half of the time – and wasn’t always accurate. Of course, if someone were to run the same test again tomorrow with different people and different questions (or, hell, even the same people with the same questions), the results might be completely different.

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Comments on “Is Google Faster Than The Library?”

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AMetamorphosis says:

Re: Google is the worlds biggest library

Google IS my library !
It allows me to search and learn about anything @ any time. It’s open 24/7. It links to the library of Congress, virtually every newspaper in the world, 1000’s of books, a bazillion images & more databases then any library could possibly have. I don’t have to have a membership card. I never have to return the medium ( book, etc ). I never have to pay a late fee & I don’t have to deal with an understaffed traditional library.

Oh, & its not based on the archaic Dewey decimal system ! 🙂

Edwin (user link) says:

Poor SE skills

I saw that article and did a few of the “tricky” searches as a test. For instance, it took me less than 20 seconds to answer “Question 3: Who is the vice chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on back care?” whereas the author took 6 minutes 27 seconds. The difference? I used “back care” in quotes, whereas the author clearly didn’t. This isn’t exactly rocket science, folks!

Dan says:


I know the reference librarians at the college I go to send students to google as a first step. If the student can’t find it on google the reference librarian searches for it with them. I love the fact that we are paying them big bucks for something a MCS major could probably do better then they can for a lot less money.

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