I am what I am because of Google. Really.
B.G. — Before Google, I was just a regular person. I knew how to research, knew what books were, where to find them, how to answer certain questions from them. There were computers, but they were really more for word processing.
Finding out stuff on the internets was just staring, at least for me, fresh from an 8 year “mommy break.” There were things called “search engines.” There was “Yahoo” (always a stupid name). There was “Web Crawler” (Eewwww. Will I get dirty?) There was “Ask Jeeves” (for what, I often wondered — a shrimp fork? A finger bowl?). But none of these engines had much horsepower.
And then came Google. And like Athena, the Greek Goddess of wisdom, Google gave me all knowledge — all I had to do was ask.
At my last job in a large international bureaucracy, someone told me about Google in 1999. I don’t know when you learned about it, but it was news to me.
It took me a while to share.
Now, I wasn’t really greedy. But suddenly I could find out stuff that made me look brilliant.
Who is the newly appointed Health Minister of Bangladesh?
Who is in charge of HIV research in Thailand?
What was the name of Myanmar before it was Myanmar? (OK, my bosses knew that one and I didn’t — but I could pretend I did, which is just as effective with the right snide look on your face. Google made us geographically challenged Americans look awesome.)
Before I let on, everybody thought I was amazing. (It’s a good feeling.)
Eventually I shared my secret. But they already thought I was brilliant. I just had to keep up the ruse. Which is way easier than starting from scratch.
So imagine my dismay when I received the following headline in an email message that popped onto my office computer screen when I had a tight deadline:
Which person are they going to think like? Will I like what they think? What if they think like George W. Bush? Elizabeth Hasselback? Judge Judy? Someone else with neither brains, nor heart nor soul? What if Google thinks like John Boehner — shallow and obtuse and tearful?
Google, please don’t change. You know if you do this, you’ll take another little piece of my heart.