Overheard: Word of the Day

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» VIEW ALL POSTS Jul 2 2009   12:59PM GMT

Overheard – Who cares what a browser is?



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Tags:
browser
Chrome
Google
Google intern Scott Suiter went to Times Square and asked 50 random people three simple questions:

“What is a browser?”

“Do you know the difference between a browser and a search engine?”

“What browser do you use?”

It wasn’t exactly JayWalking, but to read some of the comments as this Google video makes its way around the blogosphere, you might be tempted to think it was.

JayWalking, if you’re not a Tonight Show fan, was a popular man-on-the-street interview segment where former host Jay Leno would stop pedestrians and ask them questions about American history, current events and other things a fifth grader would probably know. The more stupid the answers, the funnier the segment.

It’s pretty clear just from this little micro-survey that people were confused about the difference between a browser and a search engine.

The question is, does it really matter?

I don’t type in “http://” anymore.  I rarely type in “www.”  What I do instead sets my husband’s teeth right on edge because it’s so lazy. You see, sometimes I’ll search right from my browser window.

If you’re still pulling up the Google home page to begin your search, try skipping that step.  Open IE or Firefox and in the browser toolbar where it says “address,” type in your query –

And then imagine a whole generation of kids growing up doing the same thing.  They don’t care if they’re using the right window or the right word.  Would you be embarrassed because you called a generic bathroom tissue a “Kleenex?”  Or feel stupid if you called the HP office machine that copies and collates a “Xerox machine” instead of a photocopier?  Nah.  And that’s about how important any of this stuff is going to be to the next generation.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/o4MwTvtyrUQ" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

The video ends by saying “Less than 8% of the people who were interviewed on this day knew what a browser was.”

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