As someone who's writing a non-fiction history book I wonder if this effects what I'm doing. I use google and the net a lot and find many little nuggets of information tucked away that I would have missed. A very significant thing though is the deeper I get, the more I realize how much information is not online. Vast quantities of historical old paper have not been digitized. Seriously, most of human knowledge is not available to me when I look for it.
If, as this article argues, individuals think they're smarter because they consult the net, I wonder if research (and researchers) and their books and work published using the net may also suffer from this? Are researchers (perhaps including the writers of this article, hmm?) stupider when they rely on google for their writing.
Google gives me a wide but shallow feeling while doing research. It takes a great deal of extra work to pull the tiny nuggets from google and find the actual paper sources that take you to yet new things. The internet is a nice start, but to get anything of quality you have to go deeper. And of course the collating and analysis and arguments don't come from the search-bar, that's still human. But if we look online and stop at what I now think of as just the seed of a topic, we miss the eventual mass of data that isn't there yet.
So, is internet research going to produce dumber research, and dumber researchers? Maybe more information will become available (can I add: damn you extended copyright, jailor of so much monetarily valueless culture.) But if a researcher thinks a quick search makes them more of an expert, should we all doubt their findings even more?
(Dumb/clever closer: "Google that question.")