Organising the World’s Information

According to their corporate fact page, Google’s mission is “to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful

That’s a pretty lofty goal when you stop and think about it, yet I find it fascinating to see just how successfully Google have been at achieving this enormous goal. Not just with the obvious “easy” stuff like web search, but with things that are slightly harder, like mapping. Seriously, you have to think pretty big to work on creating an accurate 3D model of the entire planet, populating it with 3D models of every building and structure, overlaying it with millions of geolocated photos and videos and live traffic data and all that other amazing stuff you find in the Google Earth layers! (Oh and while we’re at it, let’s build some cars with special cameras on the roof and drive along every road on the planet to take photos of what it looks like. Pretty amazing really!)

When you look at so many of the other projects that help organize the world’s information – Data, Statistics, Photos, Videos, Books, Languagethe human body (and way more), it’s pretty obvious that Google takes its mission statement seriously! In Google’s relatively short history, our ability to easily find, manage and mine information, all thanks to this massive organisational project started at Stanford by two grad students, has totally changed the way we think about and deal with all manner of information. I suspect that over time we will eventually come to see the “post Google era” as one of the most dramatic shifts in human history.

Anyway, here’s another one for you, in case you haven’t seen it – Art Project. Google has partnered with art galleries and museums around the world to provide streetview-style gallery walkthoughs and high resolution imagery of artworks. When you see the way it ties together with background information on the artists, videos from the museums, overall searchability, being able to add to your own collections, make notes, etc, etc, I think it’s an outstanding example of not just a great resource for anyone interested in art, but an amazing insight into how useful information can become when we have the right tools to make it accessible.

I can hardly wait until the Sydney Google Teacher Academy next week! Only 9 more sleeps!

Body Browser

Maybe it’s just because we have a few classes at school learning about the human body at the moment, but I thought this little gem from the Google Labs was pretty cool.  It’s called Body Browser, and you can have a play yourself if you’re running Chrome or another modern HTML5-compliant browser.

Things like this make me really excited about going to the upcoming Google Teacher Academy in Sydney!