Google Lab’s new offering Google Noticeboard will change the world. At least that is what Google and the folks over at Content Nation are hoping. Downloading the software client, which functions as plugin for Firefox 3, allows users to create a community noticeboard (think Craig’s List). Members of the community can then post messages in either text or voice using simple, pushbutton publishing. The client is especially configured for use on public computer terminals and promises to be intuitive across language and cultural barriers.
This excerpt from Content Nation’s recent article on Noticeboard, paints a picture of a world connected by icons and Internet:
Given that many of the five billion people who do not have personal access to the Web are not likely to become literate in the languages most commonly used on the Web any time soon, Google Noticeboard also holds out the potential for social media to connect these people to the power of publishing before they’ve ever had a real taste of the “old stuff” from many traditional media sources. In other words, after millennia of holding the keys to publishing while leaving much of the world’s population illiterate and with no access to publishing tools, we may be on the edge of human civilization re-emerging as infinitely scalable communities who hold the ability to organize their own native communications as they please. In some instances this will mean that people choose to invest in their traditional cultures and languages, ensuring a diversity of outlooks and techniques that may eventually help humankind to ensure diverse approaches can compete to solve globally scaled challenges. In other instances it may mean that these same people opt for online translation services to participate in broader communities around the world.
It sounds like a promising step forward. The article cited that on a public terminal in India, children who had never learned on a computer before were given access, and within 10 minutes were teaching other children how to use it. With such ease of use, which Google is notorious for, can a mass-exodus from digital illiteracy for disadvantaged people be far behind?