Thursday, 10 January 2013

The interweb at its finest

My favourite entry in Yellow Pages
(sadly long since removed)
I think we sometimes forget how much the internet/world wide web has changed the way we do things for the better. Here's a little story to illustrate this - and also I think to show that the power of something like the web is the ability to use it in unexpected ways.

I needed to replace a couple of tyres on a car. I was quite happy with the outfit I'd used for new tyres before, but because I don't buy tyres very often, I couldn't remember the company's name. This has happened before, rather a lot.

Of course, if I was all organized and such I would have carefully noted down the details of the tyre place in Evernote and I could just search that and pull them up in seconds. But I wasn't and I didn't. What can I say? I'm lazy.

In the old days I would have hunted for that tree graveyard the Yellow Pages ('I'm sure I left it there...') looked up tyre services, and then would have spent 15 minutes looking through the adverts, trying to decide which of the silly names was the business I used before. 'That seems vaguely familiar... but then so does this...'

Now, though, with the interweb at hand, the way I came to it was more a parallel of the way the brain deals with information. Though I couldn't remember the name of the tyre shop, I could remember where it was. But only in the sense of 'It's on that roundabout, you know, the one near Go Outdoors' - I didn't know a street name. No problem. Pull up Google maps, follow the route from home to 'that roundabout' and I have the location pinned down. Zip into Streetview - and I can see the building and read the name of the company.

At this point, quite recently I would have then turned to the electronic version of the phone book to get the number. But why bother? Type the company name in Google and up pops the phone number. I'm there in under a minute after employing the vaguest of search algorithms.

And that's why the internet/web is so good.

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