We might forget how much fun a search engine is, and how much time it saves us in doing everyday things, until the internet connection is interrupted and we're left without Google. (Or, and this happens more rarely, when Google itself is down.) But usually after some minutes, things are back to normal – and we got our extended memory, our library of more books we could ever read, our information center, and our universal answer machine. And now, for just a moment, I would like you to imagine what today's life would be without all that. What life would be without Google... and how much more time we'd be spending on solving our problems.
With Google: You enter "How to find lost keys" into Google, and the pages you find suggest to search every place again. Time spent: 10 minutes.
Without Google: You search your rooms. You start to get angry, then desperate. You search for a second time, and find your keys. Time spent: 10 minutes.
Time saved using Google: none.
Opening a Coconut
With Google: You search for "How to open a coconut." A video tutorial explains you should hold a coconut over a bowl, and use the blunt side of a cleaver to whack the coconut until it cracks open in two halves. Time spent: 5 minutes.
Without Google: You ask your neighbor, and she tells you she doesn't know either, but invites you to check her cookbooks collection. On that day, you fall in love with her, and she with you. You discover the solution to the coconut problem in her books the next morning. Time spent: 1 day.
Time saved using Google: around 1 day, but love life suffers.
With Google: You enter "Frank Simmonz" into Google. His criminal records turn up, and you stay away from him. Time spent: 5 minutes.
Without Google: You meet Frank Simmonz. He seems to be a nice guy, not poor either, and he's elegantly dressed. You meet him again at a restaurant a week later. Another week after that, you notice Frank has blood on his shirt but you try to not mention it. Later, while you two watch a mafia movie together, Frank says, "People in that business talk differently, and I should know!" You leave the cinema in a hurry. Time spent: 2 weeks.
Time saved using Google: 1 week, 6 days, 23 hours, and 55 minutes.
With Google: You enter "how to speed up transportation" into Google and stumble upon a tutorial on wheels construction. Time spent: 1 minute.
Without Google: You go out and watch nature. You also analyze people, and animals, trying to figure out how and why they move. You make sketches, you observe, and you remain patient. You dabble with rocks, wood, and water. You teach your children about what you learned during your lifetime, sparking their curiosity. After that, your children take over the task you began and try finding a revolutionary method of transportation. And their children, too. The idea spreads to neighbors, friends and family, and it spans generations.
Then, a whole culture becomes infested with the problem, and everyone everywhere is trying to crack their head solving it. Many, many years later, the wheel is invented. Time spent: 12,600 years.
Time saved using Google: Around 12,600 years, give or take a minute.