I don't however, believe that choosing Google means we use it uncritically. My concern with Google wasn't simply the dropping of tools, but also the data mining and the business model they use. To be fair, I have been equally critical of Microsoft and Apple (I was, and still am, critical of aspects of the iPad and with the overpriced, closed system that Apple promotes). I think we're in a dangerous place when we fail to look at the economic incentive that every transnational technology corporation adheres to.
In the case of Google, we have to recognize that they engage in data mining, that they frequently drop applications (which is true, to a lesser extent, of Apple) and that their primary business model is that of an advertising agency. Students need to ask hard questions about privacy, the danger of customization (and the narrowcasting of search) and the constant exposure to advertising.
For what it's worth, I have other issues with Apple. I'm not crazy about the fact that they advocate a closed system and that they function as a monopoly in many respects. I prefer most Google products to Apple, for the cost alone.
Too often, we treat technology as if it happens in an economic, social and political vacuum. Too often, teachers buy into the myth of technology neutrality.
For the record, I support adaptable thinking. I believe in changing and adapting. However, I also believe that we need to temper that with sustainability. Yes, we have to realize that the tools won't last, but many tools have a social element and when we lose that, we also lose a site, a place and a community. I want those things to last. We saw this when Twitter let Posterous die.
Simply chasing after the new, constantly seeking innovation is what leads us into a culture of novelty. It's what happened in the sixties with baseball stadiums. We ended up creating the Astrodome and every other ugly, cookie-cutter clone.
What we get with Google is a culture of innovation that sometimes turns into a culture prone toward the disposable. My point is that we have to know that before buying in on any Google product.
photo credit: fd via photopin cc