Writing In The Little Google Window

Today in my Writing Technologies class (English 482), we got into a discussion about how we associate being able to think and write with the tools we write with. So a poetic impulse might come through with a certain pen-and-notebook combo, or an expository flair with Microsoft Word configured just so. And so on.

As a class, we then all opened up our web browsers and wrote a couple of paragraphs (a free write about penmanship, to be exact) using the little search field over at google.com.

I'd never really tried it before, but it's kind of cool writing in the little search field over at google.com. The deal is that

  • you can only see a small snatch of text, so the impulse to read over large amounts of your writing is thwarted by the tool

  • once you have ten words or so, the cursor is always flush-right; this lends, for me, a visual immediacy to each new word

  • it feels oddly clandestine to use the Google search engine in this way, as if you're doing something you're not supposed to do; I like this; it makes me happy

  • a weird thing is that it's hard to save if you write using this tool, so you've pretty much gotta rely on selecting all text periodically and copying it to the clipboard

  • and the best thing is that, when you're done, you can click return and see an intertextual network of writing (via Google) of lots of other things relating to what you've just written; in this way, writing in the little search-field at google.com is like writing within an automated research environment


  1. Anonymous9:53 PM

    This I love! I don't miss my school days much, but when I read your posts, I sometimes wish I were walking the quad as a student in your classes. Great stuff, Spencer.

  2. I was talking about birds yesterday in class -- where were you to back me up? :)