The number one piece of information that I gleaned from the 'Download' documentary is that everything involved with the advancement of the Internet apparently came out of Stanford. It really begs the question: Does Stanford breed computer geniuses or are all computer geniuses going to Stanford? Either way, there has got to be something in the water in Palo Alto. Also, it apparently only effects men. Where are my lady programers at? Stanford isn't the only Ive League school that seems to fall short in this department.
Aside from that, it was interesting to hear about 'Internet Carnivals'. I remember when search engines were just beginning to form, of course in my day everything was primarily filtered through AOL. However, using hindsight to take a look at the search engines of yesteryear, they were so muddled down with ridiculous paraphernalia. Every search homepage had crazy games and flashing lights and ridiculous banners. I never realized at the time, but they were just playing the public like any sideshow carnie would - they expected us to get distracted by the shiny things, and not pay attention to to the fact that the search part was not exactly all worked out.
Google has proven to be a true testament to the fact that the best way to get someone to your webpage (or business of any kind) is to have the best possible product. You provide an invaluable service, then people will use it, not matter how shiny (or un-shiny) it is. Naturally, once the clientle exist, then the inevitable income will become readily available to spruce up the look, but CONTENT IS KING! I'm grateful for the reiteration of this fact, because it solidifies my dislike for the arena of marketing. I understand, it serves somewhat of a purpose, however today you find so many people obsessed with 'branding' and their 'appeal' and the 'look' of what they have to offer, but where is the substance? Branding may get you instant exposure, but substance will grant you longevity. Obviously, Google has managed to find a healthy balance of the two.
The final overarching theme that I took away from this film was the statement that the number one thing that human seek out it communication. We are social beasts, so the wild popularity of the Internet should not come as a surprise to a culture such as ours. I've heard many arguments that the Internet has created a social disconnect, however I disagree. It has certainly changed the way in which we connect, and it may not seem as intimate since our interactions are increasingly digital, however we now know more about each other than we ever did before. Previously, I may have had a coworker who's name I knew and the very basics of their life, but now we can friend them on Facebook, and gain incredible insights on their family, their hobbies, why they are how they are and these are things that we may never have learned about them prior to the digital age.
While lunch dates may be on the decline, I do believe that people are powering the new uses of the Internet to create an evolution of what it means to know someone.