I've been seeing this breathless announcement everywhere this morning: In partnership with UNESCO and LitCam (Frankfurt Book Fair Literacy Campaign), Google has just launched a search site called The Literacy Project, "a resource for teachers, literacy organisations and anyone interested in reading and education." Isn't that exciting?
No, not particularly. UNESCO and LitCam have merely lent their names to legitimize a site that's nothing more than a directory of Google services.
Check out the homepage for The Literacy Project. Click on any of the sections and you'll be steered to another Google service. Want to find some blogs devoted to adult literacy? You'll be shown a selection of Blogger blogs--and no others. (Google owns Blogger.) You'll even be invited to start your own Blogger blog. Want to find a discussion group on teaching children to read? Your search results will show only Google Groups--not Yahoo. And you'll be invited to create a Google Group of your own. Looking for some videos? You'll be shown plenty of Google Videos--but nothing from YouTube. Have you spotted the trend yet?
The Literacy Project has a noble-sounding name, but it's not about promoting literacy, it's about promoting Google. I wonder how much UNESCO and LitCam were paid for the use of their names.
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