No, Google, No!

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:

Google revamps search, tries to think more like a person

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.

67 Comments

Filed under Humor, Technology

67 responses to “No, Google, No!

  1. I agree that I don’t want Elizabeth Hasselback in my head. I added Janis in as exorcism.

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  2. These comments made me go to a very dark place … imagining Elizabeth Hasselback singing a la Janis Joplin … the thought of it made me Gaggle … not Giggle … nooooo … Gaggle, and then some. It’s bad enough that she gives women a bad name (as a species). To imagine her whimpering her right-wing voice across anything Janis would chew up and spit out is just a sacrilege. Please excuse me while I go Gaggle some more. Ughghghghghghghghghghgh

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  3. GOF

    I have to agree that Google is just the most astonishing innovation the internet has seen……after struggling to find anything of relevance on alta vista search engine in the early days, Google is fantastic. That it can nail down any blog post of mine within an hour of posting is truly mind-boggling.

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  4. No, she is that right wing idiot on “The View.” Her IQ is smaller than my shoe size.

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  5. You know…..I think when we search items, they should tell us the person they are using for this hunt.

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  6. Uh oh. I feel “improvement” coming on, and that is almost never good.

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  7. But it’ll be even less trustworthy when it tries to think like a person — an unknown, unnamed person whose thoughts you might not like to click on!

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  8. The love/hate relationship we have with computers! Well, I love google but I don’t completely trust it (like a lot of people)!

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  9. At least you’ll be read for it when it hits you! You can thank me later …

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  10. Why just yesterday Google told me how to copy a number while dropping the leading zero. Good thing I got this information today, because tomorrow it will drop the number, copy a zero, and lead with the right hook.

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  11. I don’t know. It may be kinda interesting, actually. A humanized search engine capable of errors. Just a thought.

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  12. 1) one of the great classic albums of all time. 2) It’s a crapshooot..you could end up thinking like Stephen Hawking, or you could end up thinking like Gomer Pyle…
    btw, whatever happened to WebCrawler anyway???

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  13. I couldn’t get by without Google. As you can see it does get me in a bit of trouble. But also, where else would I learn that yes, my son is correct, the African penguin really is called a jackass penguin and he’s not just using that as an excuse to cuss? I just hope the “person” is not anything like me, or worse, a nine-year-old boy.

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    • Google gave my son many opportunities to cuss. And we had the best time Googling “farts” one afternoon. I have tears in my eyes remembering that afternoon. It shows the lengths I went to to interest my son in science … alas, to no avail!

      But I bet your 9-year-old would be WAY better than, say, Lindsay Lohan.

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  14. Ha! 🙂 Really funny. Yes, Google made all of us look brilliant. The funniest thing is that, if for one day Google server goes down then all the IT companies are going to fall short of intelligence to even code a single program or to develop a single part of software. And I can tell you this with my own experience. 🙂

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  15. I have mixed feelings – I think Google has done an amazing job of being people friendly, instead of code-writers who think like an algorithm. But they’ve also got Google Gravity and Google Sphere, that are super cool… as long as you’re not actually trying to search for anything.

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    • I haven’t tried either of those, but I may need to. I love regular Google, and Google Scholar for work is great. Mostly I am a dinosaur and don’t like it when they change things that work well. Because they never work as well afterwards

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  16. Sure thing, Karyn. It has been my goal for many years to terrorize. I just didn’t know how to do it before now.

    The list of folks I don’t want to think about keeps growing exponentially the more I think about this “change for the better” by Google. What are they thinking?

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  17. Oh Elyse, I just love the way you think! (Elizabeth Hasselback? Kill me now!)
    If google starts talking and uses her annoying voices I think self inflicted suicide might skyrockek. Thanks for the laugh (and the new anxiety lines…)

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  18. uh-oh does that mean Gooooooooogle may become G♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥gle, or G☺☺☺☺☺☺☺gle, or G♀♀♀♀♀♀♀gle or G♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪gle…what about the objective stuff? Will G have point of view, become the omniscient narrator, develop character? Am I over thinking this?

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  19. Good point. Think of the blogs we’ll all get out of this change.

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  20. Michelle Gillies

    If this auto thinking works anything like the auto correct on my phone, which thinks it knows what I want to say), we are in for some big moments on Ellen.

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  21. Elisabeth Hasselback? I think my heart just stopped. Oh, the horror!

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  22. This seems like a good idea. I’m really not sure. I’m going to have a long talk with my computer and then my toaster and see what they think.

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  23. Thanks Frank. It is hard to remember when the sum of world knowledge was not just ours for the asking, isn’t it?

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  24. Oh my .. .you took me back in time … such as, recalling the drilling-down the Yahoo outline to limit the search. I recall when a colleague (Chris) told me about Google … and I don’t think I’ve left since then. Meanwhile, I fret Google becoming like Word – that is thinking it knows what you want! Good post Elyse!

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  25. Ah, Val, it’s my age too. I still have this album — the original. Downstairs in a box with the rest of the music I remember! The new stuff?

    Who will investigate it when Google fails? And what search engine will they use. It is indeed troubling.

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  26. My all time favorite artist, my all time favorite album by my all time favorite artist (showing age).

    Google thinks like person? Hmmm, Google adopts personality of ijit and …..EPIC FAILURE. Investors demand investigation into Google Brain Dump.

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  27. bigsheepcommunications

    I’m with you – isn’t it enough that we have all these people who think like people??

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  28. A ‘thinking’ website? Say it ain’t so!

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  29. Hi,
    Google has made a lot of changes lately, not for the better I feel, a bit like WP. 😀
    I haven’t heard this song for ages, loved sitting back and listening to it again, and I still knew the words, I was amazed. 🙂

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  30. hahaha nice one. Another little piece of my heart now baby, sang Janis. Rest her rockin’ soul… ah memories. And now we Google. You are funny, woman, loving it 🙂

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  31. Great post. So funny. Made me laugh!

    “google+think+like+a+muppet” and…ENTER!

    Who will it be?

    B.G.

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    • With my luck, BG, it’ll be Statler and Waldorf, the two old guys in the box seats … Sort of like Mitt Romney trying to think like me!

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  32. I loooove Google! As a kid, I was a Webster’s and Brittanica junkie and now Google beats them all to heck. All hail The Goog!

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  33. Google is going to cool themselves right out of business, much like AOL almost did.

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  34. Hear, Hear! I was having very similar thoughts when I read about Google’s change. I think they should describe just who this “Person” is. Or, maybe they could have two separate people, and you could pick which one you wanted to search for you.

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