Google has been my Internet default page for as long as I can remember. I think it used to be MSN.com, but I got tired of pseudo-news getting in the way of the things I actually wanted to see. It is the first resource that I go to whenever I’m searching for any type of information, whether that’s learning something new, like the chords and lyrics for Voices Carry by ‘Til Tuesday, which I needed for this Friday’s gig, to wind predictions in my city so I can plan where and when to surf, to where to get the best deal on new swim trunks for my son (he requested Billabong’s in size 28). Not only did I get the answers/solutions I needed easily and quickly, but I was presented with multiple choices for each. I think that Google is the single best innovation that has come with the Internet age. For all of the noise and static that comes with being online, Google fulfills at least one futuristic promise. I may not have a jetpack or a personal robot, but I do have a tool in my hands that can quickly and easily answer a plethoric array of questions for me, all day, every day for free.
But do I trust Google? Oh Lord, no. My relationship with Google is a dirty one, and we both know it. I use Google and Google uses me and we both know the deal and seem to be okay with it. It’s like being in a relationship with someone you aren’t in love with, it’s based on opportunity and convenience and as long as both parties are getting what they need, there doesn’t necessarily have to be romance, satisfaction will do.
We all know that the brainiacs at Google spend every waking moment figuring out ways to package and sell our search habits to potential advertisers and that they know more about us than perhaps we even know about ourselves, because they keep a running list of searches we’ve performed. Many criminals are condemned by the searches they’ve done prior to getting caught, and I’m certain that certain search terms probably trigger red flags in certain places. God help you if you’ve ever searched “How to hide a body” or “When to confess to a Ponzi scheme”.
I’m certain that we would all range from slightly embarrassed to completely humiliated if our Google search histories were made public. In reflecting upon what I’ve searched in past year alone, I shudder at the thought.
Will this make me stop Google-ing every question that pops to the top of my head? Unfortunately, no – I will carry on in this dysfunctional yet symbiotic relationship for as long as we both shall live, knowing that it’s probably going to hurt me in long run. In the meantime, it has an allure I just cannot and will not resist.