Do you remember life before you ever Googled?


scooby doo

Do you remember a life before you ever Googled?  Do you remember what was your first ever Google search? Yes and no are my answers. I am a Generation Xer. I saw the rise and complete take over of Google.  I distinctly remember when I first heard of Google. I was in school and my colleague recommend that I use this new thing called Google that was way better at finding things than anything else. She was breathing really hard with excitement about it. I probably crinkled my nose, arched my eyebrow and as a good New Yorker, continued on to full skepticism.

Soon after that exchange I started using Google. There was a time where we were all out a bar debating who sang “I think we are alone now“.  None of us, with cocktail in hand, could not remember whether it was Tiffany or Debbie Gibson. One of us called a friend who then Googled it. Note that we had to call a friend because our cell phones were not quite yet “SMART” but was definitely a preview of Who wants to be a millionaire would end up captivating Americans for a few months.  By the way, it was Tiffany the mall queen.

While Google came in handy to settle drinking-induced debates I did become  slightly annoyed with Google when I had to grade research papers that obviously had no real library research efforts in them.  I even approached one of my students and asked him why I had to give him a “D” as his grade. I was upset that he had pushed me to that.  And as a side note that was on a curb -as is every grade at Berkeley.  That is a topic for discussion at some other point I suppose . Although, I must wonder how can anyone claim to do any real literature review research nowadays with Google taking over every person’s research strategy. Back to the “D” student. He  answered me by letting me know that he hadn’t found the sources online. At which point I reminded him that the resources had been placed on reserve at the library. Now get this. He looked at me with full earnestness and said “the library.” I was done.

Apparently, If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist–Jimmy Wales

I myself have used Google for everything. It is quite a monopoly they have, really. Our thoughts, our ideas, our words are all googleble.  That’s a word, right?   My question is what isn’t googleable?  I once tried to find things that weren’t googleable.  I looked up my childhood fruit that I loved that I only knew from the South Bronx and had a name in Spanish. I could never find it anywhere and then Google came about. My beloved “quenepas” are googleable.  Although, I must admit I still don’t really know too well what they are. If there is a Puerto Rican reading this, please tell me!  I have found that teachers are now being advised that every topic, every bit of learning has content that can be Googled and so they should focus their curricula on non-googleable things. But someone tell me what is that!  I suppose some might argue that facts are googleable (and non-facts while we are at it) but teaching people how to think is not.   Well of course, that  too is googeable. I mean, common sense stuff is googleable.
Here are a few examples:

How to boil an egg.  When I shamelessly mention to people that I have googled “how to boil an egg” they look at me with a horribly scrunched up face as if I’m super dumb.  I know they are wondering how I got a PhD. Then I ask “so you boil water first and drop the egg in or you place the egg in regular water and bring to a boil”. I Guess what? I never get a consensus answer. New rule. Don’t scrunch up your nose if you are just as clueless as I am but you didn’t know it.

Whether one should leave shower curtain in or out of tub. There are arguments for both sides. Its basically water drip versus mold. Pick your poison, I say.

What happened to KajaGooGoo? I once woke with a horrible earworm. I kept singing “Too Shy” and I then had to find out whatever happened to that band that so cursed me so many year back. Well, just like every other one-hit wonder the group start disintegrating soon after their one major hit. Thank you Google for that update.
I have also googled myself..  Ok. This is actually NOT a stupid thing to do. But it sure feels funny. I found a horrible picture of myself online that I’m wondering how it got out there. I also found a press release that contained a quote of mine that I never said. Ok. Let me restate. Someone attributed a quote to me that I never uttered nor was I consulted about. It wasn’t a bad quote. It just wasn’t me.
Life before Google. It existed. It was a time when we had to work a little harder to figure things out both small and big.  At least now, we can get answers to the silliest things and not be embarrassed by our lack of knowledge.  Information I suppose is now of the people (well, where google is allowed to exist). What people now do with that information is still up to the people.
mixed tape

6 replies »

  1. Life before Google… What a thought! I can’t remember what it was I first googled… But I am always googling “how many minutes do you boil an egg?” I always forget. Every time!

    Google saved me from a lifetime of bad eggs, and for that, I am thankful.

    Fun post 🙂


  2. The 21st Century will be remembered by the phrase “Just Google it.” I often wonder how Google is influencing our behaviour as Human Beings. On the positive side it is expanding our connections but what is it taking away from us? I would be interested in your thoughts as a psychologist. Like the post by the way.


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