Crossposted with Morning Delivery.
I can't say I was surprised, but then again I'm still baffled that the finalists for this year's Time Magazine Person of the Year didn't include the founders of Google: Larry Page and Sergey Brin for their pioneering projects, whether it was for "good or ill.''
This year's recipient Ben Bernanke, was named on the Today Show this morning by Time magazine's managing editor Rick Stengel.
It's hard getting through a week, month, or even a day without some mention of Google in your everyday conversation; whether it's how they're adding new translators in 41 languages, the buzz created of a story you just read on "Google News,'' getting directions through Google maps or in the absence of a dictionary-finding the correct spelling of a word.
When you begin your search for information, any information, such as facts about global warming or how long the The Peloponnesian War lasted, chances are you will begin with Google, not Bing, not Yahoo.
Google has become so prevalent in our everyday lives; they even named a verb after it. "To Google'' (to search for information on the Internet) made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in 2006.
Taking nothing away from some of this year's finalists, among them Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, President Barack Obama, or even the Chinese workers -- all worthy newsmakers to be sure, but all falling short of the criteria Time magazine has used in selecting recipients since settling on Charles Lindbergh in 1927; which is: "the person who influenced the world the most in the past year, for "good or for ill.''
Of all the finalists, Gen. Stanley McChrystal appeared the strongest choice; the coming months ahead, based largely on the bronze star general's judgment, convinced President Obama to commit 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan in a mission that will go a long way in determining whether the war on terrorism will be won or lost.
As far as Bernake, Pelosi, and the Chinese worker are concerned; I put them only in being in the right place at the right time category; none of their individual contributions alone (not yet anyway) has impacted the world to such a degree as to merit being named Time Magazine Person of the Year. The feds impact on the economy, and to what extent the Speaker of the House (even if she is the first woman) has had in crafting new health care legislation is still developing and yet to be determined. The Chinese worker as a recipient was too hazy and ill-defined to be considered in my book.
Why President Obama (last year's winner) made the cut at all is a mystery with unemployment having climbed above 9 percent, health care reform looking weaker by the day; and a foreign policy that has yet to make a significant impression. I can only assume that the editors of Time magazine are also on The Norwegian Nobel Committee.
It's hard to take issue with Steve Jobs as Time magazine Person of the Year finalist. Apple Computers, after all, has been on the cutting edge in the digital revolution with the iPhones and now the company is making a strong pitch to TV networks that would deliver television programs through its multi-media software for $30 a month.
Now that's revolutionary; and fits Times' conditions as the person who has impacted the world the most.
But so have the founders of Google, which is why I'm puzzled they haven't been considered.
Look at what Google done in this year alone.
Back in March, The White House held its first online Town Hall meeting using the Google Moderator, a voting box used by online users to determine which questions should be answered. The president's video message was additionally broadcast on YouTube, a property of Google.
A month later, Google launched the first ever YouTube symphony from Carnegie Hall, which included works from Gabrieli, Bach, Mozart, and Brahms performed by over 90 musicians from more than 30 countries
Both novel and revolutionary and both significant events of what the future holds for online users; and how powerful the Internet has become in disseminating information to millions of people in a blink of an eye.
More significant still, was the recent announcement that a couple of newspaper giants have decided to work with Google in order to showcase their product, rather than vent their frustration that the search engine has eaten their lunch.
Earlier this month, for example, the New York Times and the Washington Post collaborated on the Living Stories Project, an experimental project in which select stories from both of these newspapers are grouped under categories, like health care or Afghanistan.
The award winning PBS Newshour has also joined forces with Google in which its nightly reports will be broadcast on YouTube ; with exclusive web-original videos from its own online correspondent.
It seems that no matter which direction the information highway is moving, Google has an answer. With the rise of social media sites in 2009, Google now informs us they have unveiled new search tools that pick up results from Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace with updates every few seconds.
And in the latest groundbreaking venture; anticipating the future in wireless computer devices, The Wall Street Journal reports that Google plans to begin selling a new cellphone directly to consumers, to be called Nexus One, beginning the early part of next year.
If you take just 30 seconds to consider all the ways Google, for "good or ill,'' has embraced our daily lives, maybe then you will appreciate my confusion of how the editors of Time magazine continue to overlook, year after year, Google as worthy recipient of Time Magazine Person(s) of the Year.
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