Thursday, August 2, 2007

Google as operating system

So one of the people I taught in my computer class today wanted to know about Linux. I was really surprised to hear this. Most people in a beginning computer class have probably never heard of it, let alone want to use it. I know very little about it myself and have never seen it in action, so I wasn't very helpful in telling her about it. It didn't really matter, though, because she seemed to be pretty unclear on the whole concept of operating systems. I explained that Linux was an operating system like Windows but that it wasn't the kind of OS novices should be using.

"So I should stick to Google then?" she asked.

Umm.... "Well, Google isn't an operating system," I said. "It's a website, a search engine."

"So, like America Online?" she inquired further.

"America Online???" I thought. I haven't heard it called that in years. It's "AOL." And who still uses it, seriously?

"No, that's an internet service provider," I told her, not knowing if she'd been referring to it as a search engine or as an operating system, but either way she was wrong.

We dropped the whole Linux conversation. I'm not sure if it was that or just everything else about computers, but she said she was going to take the class again because she didn't get it all. I'll have to remember to stress the difference between an OS, an ISP, and a search engine!

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