BY JIM KARPEN
The Internet is great, and the Internet is a failure. How oftendoes it not live up to the hype? You have a question, you do your Google search,and you get a gazillion results—but not the answer you were looking for.
There must be a better way. There is, of course. Otherwise why would I bewriting this?
Seriously, let’s say you’re a consultant and someone has hiredyou to produce a list of 150 celebrities who generously helped raise moneyfor victims of Hurricane Katrina. How are you going to Google that?
I’m sure the answer could be found, but it would take time—andskill.
But there may be a better way. Someone posted this question in Google Answers(answers.google.com) and got just what she wanted. For a fee. A Google Researcherproduced a list of 150 celebrities along with links to information onlineabout their contribution.
When Google Answers first launched in April, I saw that it was a fee-basedservice and decided to ignore it because there are quite a few free services.Why pay?
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Jim Karpen, Ph.D., teaches writing at Maharishi University of Managementin Fairfield, Iowa. He has been interested in the revolutionaryconsequences of computer technology ever since writinghis Ph.D. dissertation in 1984 at Bowling Green State Universityon the study of the "digitizedword."