In re: Google's Synchronicity

I had intended to post this as a comment on Jeff Jarvis’ BuzzMachine post about Google’s Synchronicity – but it got a bit long, so I thought I’d share here instead and, hopefully, invite the ghost of journalism’s future to comment – if he’s listening. Please, go read the original article if you’d like to know where this comes from.

I do wonder what you mean when you say “local and mobile (which will come to mean the same thing)”

I read this as a redefinition of locality to mean “whatever is swiftly accessible by reasonably affordable means.” This used to mean the store down the street. Soon it will mean getting in touch with just about anyone, just about anywhere – on the assumption that the pathway of connection (Twitter, IM, email, etc) already exists. If you’re in my contacts list, you’re local to me wherever I have my smartphone and an internet connection – which is everywhere I go, so far anyway.

Mobility is very different. By this I mean that perhaps mobility will come to mean not “what i can bring to me” as local does, but perhaps “Where I can get myself to” – telephony, video conferencing, webinars. Much of this exists in a static location, but addresses the idea of high-resolution transfer of -being- rather than simply information. None of this requires a BlackBerry or iPhone – nor is capable, yet, on these platforms in a reliable way.

Google is doing a good job of addressing the geography of information, diverting and mapping the rivers, plotting and surveying the land, finding ways to parse it back into human modes. They’re the map makers.

Local used to be your country, your city, your neighbourhood. Mobility used to mean your ability to travel, or do your work in more than one place. Since  both the advent of cellular technology and the accelerated wildfire growth of the internet, how we conceive of locality has shifted, and mobility has grown exponentially. But does this mean local  and mobile as defined above come to mean the same thing?

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  • http://twitter.com/jeffjarvis Jeff Jarvis

    I mean it quite simply: When you're on the road, you want to find things near you; that bring local and mobile together. That's by no means the only definition of local; yes, it also means people with whom you have connections. I just mean that when you need to find something or someone near you at a given moment, Google is setting itself up well to give the answer.

    • http://ianmrountree.com Ian M Rountree

      Thanks for the diisambiguation, sir.

      I worry, with so much etymology going on sometimes that any modulation
      of the language is total – either through sensationalism or
      intentional obfuscation.

      There is a shift going on, and it bothers me that so few people seem
      to see it. Certainly you and El Goog do; I just pray the rest of us
      keep up.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffjarvis Jeff Jarvis

    I mean it quite simply: When you're on the road, you want to find things near you; that bring local and mobile together. That's by no means the only definition of local; yes, it also means people with whom you have connections. I just mean that when you need to find something or someone near you at a given moment, Google is setting itself up well to give the answer.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffjarvis Jeff Jarvis

    I mean it quite simply: When you're on the road, you want to find things near you; that bring local and mobile together. That's by no means the only definition of local; yes, it also means people with whom you have connections. I just mean that when you need to find something or someone near you at a given moment, Google is setting itself up well to give the answer.

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  • http://ianmrountree.com Ian M Rountree

    Thanks for the diisambiguation, sir.

    I worry, with so much etymology going on sometimes that any modulation
    of the language is total – either through sensationalism or
    intentional obfuscation.

    There is a shift going on, and it bothers me that so few people seem
    to see it. Certainly you and El Goog do; I just pray the rest of us
    keep up.

  • http://ianmrountree.com Ian M Rountree

    Thanks for the diisambiguation, sir.

    I worry, with so much etymology going on sometimes that any modulation
    of the language is total – either through sensationalism or
    intentional obfuscation.

    There is a shift going on, and it bothers me that so few people seem
    to see it. Certainly you and El Goog do; I just pray the rest of us
    keep up.

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