I couldn’t remember exactly when Google rose to fame. It’s probably because I am NOT Google: My cognitive faculties are not replete with complex servers, expansive databases, and difficult algorithms to locate a relevant and accurate search query for that piece of trivia. Although my friends regard me as a walking repository of trifles and senseless factoids, my intellectual capabilities do not merit any episode of comparison with the unconventional search engine. Don’t get me started that Google is JUST robustly engineered machinery; the fact that it gets things right 99% most of the time is enough deal-sealer.
Now I have the sudden urge to read Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. The English translation, of course!
In one of my previous articles- Getting to Know the Internet- I raved about how the internet carried a slightly sinister subtext in the consciousness of the people who use it. The approach had been embellished and significantly intensified with references to Satan, and a compelling invocation of one’s own morality. The entrance of this revolutionary tool ignited a once long-standing debate on intellectualism, censorship, and ethics- calling to mind several snippets in world history. Industrial revolution, and civil disobedience, I gather. Ooh the concepts are so Romantic. So transcendentalist!
Before Google became the Band-Aid solution to every web visitors’ information queries, people weren’t as dynamic as they are today. Given: People spend more time interacting with HTML codes than with other people (if they ever have to communicate with other human beings, it’s all about how to troubleshoot connectivity problems or how to tag one’s photo on Facebook), and we definitely get the feel of being ‘in the bandwagon,’ but it also spawned a generation of ‘click-geniuses.’ In the event of Google’s successful infiltration to our collective psyche, our mental capabilities are reduced to how quick Google can run a search on its database after a mouse-click (As a matter of fact, the logo of Google was created the day before the actual launch of the search platform. Therefore, cramming has its upsides, too!).
Today, the standard of intelligence is measured using a bucolic yardstick; which is actually still a very familiar case of scholastic pedantry. Decades ago, a student’s performance was based on his immense capabilities of reciting long borrowed verses and memorized citations from an entire volume of Grolier’s Encyclopedia, and the model student was an airtight formula of someone who carried a hefty stack of books and a habitué of the public library. Nowadays, the model student takes the form of someone who knows how to click his way through the circuitous roads of the World Wide Web, and that all cases of plagiarism from their term papers can be nulled by citing the correct URL of the domain. It’s what we call the pinnacle of chronic academic indolence.
Oftentimes, I run into wondering how Google- along with other ‘helpful’ search engines- blurs the core educational values that we unquestionably follow as technological changes supersede their very existence.
I have only been a college graduate for over a year now, but I had witnessed how good fate favors those who are equipped with the right tools that make studies easy. Memories of near agony still reel in my mind as I tried hard to pull my grades up through tasks that required me to spend endless hours typing away on the keyboard for occasional papers and literary reports. The truth is, as I write this article, the slivers of struggle and brain stress formed a vivid airbrushed image on the monitor screen. Then again, I still have my metrics to work on, and making myself once again a spectator of the past will bring no good to my performance records.
The poesy of my ranting…
In all fairness to Google Inc. beyond the apparent omniscience of it lies incredible and funny stories about its culture, history, and origins that would either draw a raised eyebrow or make us slightly lose the confidence we have for it.
Did you know that the comparatively simple and clean user interface of Google is due to the founders’ lack of HTML knowledge, and not because of web usability discretions? Their decision to make it look bland became the safety net of their own, let’s say, incompetence.
Did you know that Google is also into social media? Back in February 2009, the Search Engine used the popular media channel- Twitter- in tweeting the message: “I’m 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010.” Kind of gibberish, huh? But only for the binary illiterate! It literally means, ‘I’m Feeling Lucky.’
Despite the elegant architectural style of Googleplex, did you know that the first office of Google was in a garage owned by Susan Wojcicki, who later on became the 18th employee of Google? Google Inc. decided to buy the entire lot for office expansion after quite some time.
This may sound grotesque, but did you know that Google rents a large herd of goats from California Gazing to mow the fields of their headquarters? This practice alone reduces carbon emission and noise pollution had they chosen mowers to do the task. It’s not only a step towards environmentalism: ‘Googlers’ actually see the ‘goats’ as a cuter alternative to lawn mowers.
In the year 2002, the word ‘Google’ was officially coined as a word in the dictionary.
In all its glimmering qualities, Google has proven indeed that it is an important tool in making things happen in the world which is primarily run by computers. Google is necessary, but it is not something we can’t live without. With the massive influence of search engines, I can’t even begin to ponder how many of us have yielded to the incredible speed and power of Google, and have willingly given up our bright right at the cost of supreme convenience?
After all, who would mind that ‘Eureka!’ moments are now a fairly rare commodity, when answers can arrive at a sleight of a 0.5 second loading page time?