The grand vision of the Internet is as a compendium of human knowledge (rather than, say, a good resource of pet videos, pornography and will.i.am).
In this view, the Internet is a kind of climax in human evolution. Long past the days of telling stories over camp fires, we are now much more efficiently gathering our information and learned wisdom in one place.
Google's stated mission, after all, is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
This makes it seem like we've become much better at sharing. We share our music (as long as the Recording Industry Association of America doesn't sue us), we blog our thoughts, we pass videos to one another with the ease of a link.
But at the same time, we have no patience when it comes to sharing this information personally. The Internet has essentially made questions from one person to another beginning "Do you know ... ?" somewhat obsolete.
Who needs a smart buddy when you've got Google, the Internet Movie Database and (gulp) Wikipedia?
Exemplifying this is the site Let Me Google That For You: http://lmgtfy.com.
It describes itself as "for all those people that find it more convenient to bother you with their questions rather than google it for themselves."
It's a simple concept. Say a co-worker asks you what the capital of Vermont is. You might wonder how they missed third grade and sigh, "Montpelier, duh" (that is, if you still use decade-old slang — which, hopefully, you do).
Or you might be annoyed that your co-worker didn't use the same amount of time to google the answer on their computer. So if you want to be coy about expressing this annoyance, you can plug the question in on lmgtfy.com.
The site generates a link that can be passed on as the answer. Opening the link, the recipient finds a copy of Google's home page, sees a cursor slowly move to the search box and watches "capital of Vermont" typed, letter by letter.
The cursor then clicks on "Google search" and the question "Was that so hard?" pops up. Then the site bounces to the Google results for the search, yielding a few thousand resources with the answer.
Lmgtfy.com was created by Jim Garvin, co-founder of the Web application Cubenot, and software engineer Ryan McGeary.
If you suggest the site to a friend, though, be prepared that they will surely one day ask you: "What was that Web site that made fun of obvious questions again?"
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.