“Why don’t you Google it?”
“Google told me that….”
“I can fix this problem—I read an article about it on Google!”
These lines are often spoken by someone who tried to save time, money or effort by reading an article instead of consulting an expert. And whether it’s a broken computer, a backed-up sink or the weird-looking bald patch your dog has suddenly developed, when people put their faith in Google there’s usually an unspoken postscript: “I tried to do it the way Google said, and it didn’t work.”
I have been working in IT security for 30 years. I’ve come to see that computer technology is one of the areas where people are most likely to turn to the internet for help. I am not knocking Google—my team uses it regularly to resolve complex and confusing issues with technology.
We also understand that 99.9% of the articles are CRAP.
Well, maybe that was phrased a little too harshly. How about this—80% are CRAP.
Your search for a solution can put you in touch with a lot of people claiming to be “experts.” Some of them even are experts, and may have put a few good ideas into writing. Those search results do not equate to the huge number of hours that a professional will have spent in their chosen profession.
Google does not show me how to fight a civil action in court, but a high-paid lawyer will.
Google does not make your tax records easier to understand, but a good accountant will.
Google does not make changing that engine part any more understandable, but a mechanic does.
With 20% of all google searches being for new content, there’s no Google search you can do that will capture every exact specific of your court case, tax documents or computer problem.
What Google does, is make you realise that you do not know everything. It helps you understand that a professional—the person who wrote the article—is better qualified to do it.
When the sink backs up or the car starts making a funny noise, go ahead and Google. Yes, you can muddle through, and maybe get the right outcome!
But if that first “easy” solution doesn’t work, don’t keep trying more. The cost in time and money of continually tinkering with high-priced possessions are more than what you’d pay to get your problem solved once and for all.
If you want it done right, Google it, find an article about it—and then talk to the person who wrote the article.
Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and author of the SME Digital Security Framework. Rapid Restart Appliance Creator. He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and Educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world.