A Certified Google Power User?

You’ve likely seen a few references now to an upcoming free online course offered by Google: Power Searching with Google. The tagline is “…a short course on becoming a great internet searcher.” For this post, I’ll leave aside speculation about how one becomes a “great internet searcher” using, presumably, one suite of products.

Some discussion I’ve seen refers to this as Google’s MOOC – massive open online course. I’d like to engage in a bit of pedantry for a moment and question whether that’s an appropriate characterization of Google’s offering. A course that requires use of a Google account – along with all the rights and access we give away in exchange for that account – doesn’t seem quite “open.”

While it does refer to the MOOC “format,” Google’s own promotion manages to refrain from actually calling it a MOOC or from characterizing it as “open,” or even from asserting that those who complete the course will be proficient with more than Google’s suite of products:

Power Searching with Google blends the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) learning format pioneered by Stanford and MIT with our social and communication tools to create what we hope is a true community learning experience.

For active Google account users who do want to better their skills with Google products, I’m sure the course will have value – topped off with a certificate of completion, for whatever that will be worth. The whole thing strikes me as an intriguing promotional initiative dressed as an educational opportunity, though I am curious what the specific promotional aim is.

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