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January 16, 2008

Nora Ephron asks, 'Is Google the end of conversation as we know it?'

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The final paragraph of her Op-Ed page essay in this past Sunday's New York Times made a good case for it, and follows.

    The Chicken Soup Chronicles

    I love Google. I love everything about it. I love the verb Google and I love the noun and sometimes I can even use the word as an adjective. For a long time, I liked to think there would some day be a person called the Google, a mixture of a researcher, an assistant and a butler, who would stand by ready to ride to the rescue at all Google moments. No more desperately trying to come up with the name of that movie Jeremy Irons was in, which lurks like a hologram while everyone makes stabs at figuring out what on earth it was called. We can never remember the name of that movie, the one about Claus von Bulow, but never mind — the Google is here. The Google will find the answer. But as it turns out, no Google is necessary. Somebody has a BlackBerry. The answer is seconds away! It’s here! The movie was called “Reversal of Fortune!” What a fantastic relief! On the other hand, I have to say, there was something romantic about the desperate search for an answer. On the road to trying to remember the name of Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, for instance, you might find yourself having a brief but diverting chat about Alger Hiss’s wife, which might in turn get you to a story about Whittaker Chambers’s teeth, which might in turn get you to Time magazine, which might in turn get you to Friday nights at Time magazine back in the old days, which might in turn get you to sex. This meandering had its charms. It was, in fact, what used to be known as conversation. But no more. Instead, we have the answer. Ethel Rosenberg’s brother was named David Greenglass. And that’s that. So: is it possible that Google will mean the end of conversation as we know it?

January 16, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

so good,true and fun

Posted by: azur | Jan 18, 2008 1:04:00 PM

Nora Ephron doesn't say it's the end of conversation, just the end of conversation as we know it. When I read the title, I was instantly inclined to disagree, but having read through, I think she's right. The internet is changing the way we relate to one another, and I can see the subtleties of conversation changing (not disappearing) along with everything else.

Posted by: Rena | Jan 17, 2008 4:11:15 PM

I loved that line - What a fantastic relief! It's so true what she says though. Google has become my encyclopedia, my dictionary, my visual aid, my just about everything for what I need to reference in one place. I don't know what I would do without it. Conversation hasn't died though, online it has just evolved into something different. Offline, it is still alive and well. I respectfully disagree Nora Ephron but I can see where you are coming from.

Posted by: Milena | Jan 16, 2008 10:29:18 PM

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