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Is mobile search killing our Generation Y conversations?

One could easily turn to Google on a phone to find the answer to something. But is this a habit we are too accustomed to, and is it damaging our conversational skills?
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

What is the population of Paris?

It doesn't really matter what it is, but one could easily whack out their mobile phone -- search for it on Google (or any other search provider for that matter) -- and find the answer in a matter of seconds.

This is something those of my generation do a great deal.

As I sit and write this, cuddled up on a friend's sofa, as we sip tea and both working on MacBooks, we discussed the very notion of conversation itself.

We converse day in and day out with each other, often through means of social networking and text messages, tapping away furiously on our BlackBerrys and iPhones, as we keep up to date with the private lives of our fellow colleagues and friends.

But conversations seem to have become diluted through means of mobile technology.

(Image via Flickr)

I know that, without having to search, that the population of Paris is no doubt larger than that of London. The British capital city has over 7 million people, and thus Paris must be larger. As a rough guess, it could be in the region of 10 to 12 million.

Yet in writing this, both my friend and I have spurred on conversation -- as random as it is, and as odd and unprepared we are for it -- developed into another conversation about conversation itself.

Younger people are inherently dependent on their mobile devices to tell them the news, the weather and what is going on with others. We rely on technology to inform us of the very latest that is happening.

With the very exception of the news, for which many of us turn to our phones, the television or other broadcast media to receive, one could easily look outside and see whether it is cloudy or not, and pick up their keys and head over to a friend's house.

Technology is, without doubt, a convenience. But with so many of my friends -- and no doubt yours too -- turning to their phones as a life support machine for social constructions we have developed over millennia, one has to question whether it is hindering our social support or not.

The fascination with 'must knowing' gets the better of many of us. No longer can many of us sustain the energy to sit through a pub quiz without the brewing temptation of our smartphones on hand to tell us the answers.

One could even question whether this has an educational impact on younger people; with examiners telling students to leave their phones outside the exam hall until we have sat our tests.

Whether or not this is the case, one does have to consider whether the conversations we once had are impacted by our overuse of technology.

Eventually, as you will no doubt assume and guess, I did Google it in the end. Curiosity got the better of me, and the search engine told me it was in fact in the ballpark I thought.

But at least we managed to have a conversation about it.

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