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Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Don't be Evil. Google's motto does not exactly inspire confidence in its users, because in truth, if Google WAS evil, none of us would be able to survive.


Can anybody deny that they have a dependence on Google? "Overgoogling" is a problem for everyone, seeing as a majority of users use Google as their search engine, (though the values fluctuate). Beyond that, Google has a much more invasive impact on our lives - not that I'm complaining (please don't remove my blog...)

The recent glitch that showed up on Google was never anything major, but has raised a lot of questions as to our dependence. Would businesses crash? Consumers, unable to consume? You, unable to.... Tube? Even without clear profitability models (I seriously don't know how they have so much money, since their applications are all free), they have managed to put a stranglehold on us. It's gotten to the point where "Google" is a verb.

Over the years, Google has gone through a lot of changes (see the video), but one thing has remained pretty constant - they are efficient and effective. It's the clear reason as to why they gain so many users, and why all the other companies emulate them: the simple design and easy to use interfaces bring users in and lock them in, leaving all the others playing catch-up. Exceedingly good products tend to do that.


But beyond the search engine, (and the spin offs), Google has gone on to create a whole bunch of other offerings, many of which have also become integral to our lives. In fact,once they bought YouTube, they have technically become not only the largest search engine in the world, but also the second largest. Yahoo's trailing along there somewhere. Not content with just that, Google's gone on to make much of the services offered by Yahoo and Microsoft obsolete, such as with Gmail. In fact, just looking at Google's little toolbar, the following things can be done through Google:

  1. Google Images - pretty much where all the pictures on this blog came from
  2. Google Maps - rendering Mapquest useless
  3. Google News - destroying the need for newspapers
  4. Google Video - technically obsolete, since now they're the official owners of YouTube
  5. Google Groups - making organizing class projects easier (or harder...)
  6. Google Scholar - which I use more than the library databases in order to find scientific and peer reviewed articles
  7. Google Finance - stock tickers, like Bigcharts or something
  8. Google Calendar - which can be embedded, by the way, in order to share a schedule with everyone who needs to see it.
  9. Google Documents - some people swear by this for doing reports.
  10. Google Feed Reader - RSS Feeds straight to Google.
  11. Google Checkout - breaking in on Paypal's turf
  12. Google Photos - Using the Picasa program that you can download (which I find painfully intrusive)

And to top it all off, you can use Google Toolbar to access them all without even having to go to Google.com (though odds are, if you do go to Google, you've signed in with your Google Account and see iGoogle anyways).


Speaking of Google programs you can download and run offline, while writing that list, my Gmail Notifier honestly went off like 5 times. Beyond that, they also let you download a searchbar to search through your documents, Google Chrome to replace Internet Explorer / Mozilla Firefox / Opera, (I bet many people download it even if it has a reputation for being a CPU drain), Android (to take over your mobile device), and even Google Gears to make their online programs work offline! (Meaning I could type my blog posts without even having to be online).



So what if Google owns everything, though? I'm pointing all this out just to show that they have an absurd amount of control, but they seem to have pretty good intentions (or brilliant marketing...)


Let's just go over some of the cool stuff that Google's been distracting you with lately:
  1. Let Me Google That For You - the ultimate little sarcastic smackdown to any friend asking you a stupid question. It's too bad that there are too many stupid questions, though (that might be NSFW, depending on how lucky or unlucky you are)
  2. Google Maps - it's an old thing, but it's got plenty of funky uses, such as tracing Barack Obama's rise to power, (or the Cloverfield Monster's path of destruction, if you're feeling a little more fictional). They even offer the chance to see under the sea, see the moon, or see Mars. Recently, they even managed to discover several new species, (which probably makes up for them flattening a Deer).
  3. Google Business Cards - the new rage in business card design is a "Let Me Google That For You" slap, but at your clients instead of your friends.
  4. The Google Bus - bringing the internet to places that don't have internet (to further spread the word of Google)


So I think you agree with me when I say, YES, we are living in a Google Earth. But no matter how cool Google is or looks, if they can crash just because a person flagged the "/" symbol as malware, we're all Google'd


  1. VERY thorough article Kevin!! and I must agree. We are so dependent on Google, and even without realizing it! People are saying that you can't survive projects without GoogleDocs.. I have the Google Calendar and Toolbar.. use GoogleMaps often, Youtube is bookmarked. etc etc. Googolopoly!? Wow