What has information overload done to us? asks the latest Microsoft Bing’s ad taking on search engine giant Google.
Leaving aside Bing’s desperate bid to attract users, the tongue-in-cheek ad highlights an important internet distress – data superabundance. Actually, make that digital data superabundance. And that’s as far as Microsoft goes – it has identified a problem. Surely Bing isn’t the answer to information overload. Is it?
Getting Organized in the Google Era: How to Get Stuff Out of Your Head, Find It When You Need It, and Get It Done Right
Author is former Google CIO
Executives everywhere struggle with the mass of responsibilities, projects, reports and meetings that add up to information overload. The only option, they reason, is to multi-task. There is just one problem with that approach, writes Douglas Merrill, former chief information officer at Google – it doesn’t work.
With a PhD in psychology and cognitive sciences from Princeton University, Merrill has the credentials to tell us how the brain functions in a stressful business environment and how to organise our thought processes for success. “Multi-tasking usually makes you less efficient,” he writes, because “the brain is especially inept at memorising bits of information”.