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  • October 2, 2014

Pose the Question - Ladue News: Tangential Thinker

Pose the Question

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 12:00 pm | Updated: 2:52 pm, Thu Dec 5, 2013.

Google is a great thing. It’s a noun. It’s a verb. It is the ultimate reference resource. Google it is the 21st-century version of the parental command, Look it up. Google has put an end to trivial bar arguments, like Robert De Niro was not in the original Godfather, as well as dinner-table debates such as the phrase is To the manner born, not manor. It’s originally from Hamlet. Google is helpful. Google is smart.

Google is so smart, in fact, that it will even predict what you are trying to ask. If you type in 'Obama,' Google guesses that you want information about the health care website. Enter 'Justin Timberlake' and Google finishes your query with his tour schedule. Some very bright 19-year-olds spent a lot of time figuring out how to make Google divine what you want to know. But what happens when the queries become increasingly vague? What does Google think we want to know?

If you type in ‘who is,’ Google finishes the line with presumably the most common inquiry: Who is my congressman? Well, I must say that is very reassuring. What a civic-minded bunch we are! Of course, the second most popular search is Who is Red John? That’s the fictional serial killer from The Mentalist. So one step forward…

Now if you Google ‘is there…,’ the question everyone assumes would be at the top of the list, Is there a God? actually is No. 2. The most-searched ‘is there’ question, presumably because of the bizarre reality show, is, Is there an Amish mafia? Apparently, the answer to No. 2 is no.

If you Google ‘am I…,’ the three most-probable finishes are 1) pregnant 2) depressed 3) in love. OK, if you need the web to answer these questions, the answer to the first one is, God, I hope not; the second, Probably not; and the third, Yes, but he doesn’t feel the same way about you (changing the answer to No. 2 to yes).

A lot of these queries seem to concern meeting someone of the opposite sex. How do I ask a girl out? Can I get your phone number? Is he the one? Where to meet guys? Apparently, venturing into the three-dimensional world is too easy an answer. If only there were non-virtual places where people could gather to dance, meet, read or shop…oh well, keep trolling online, some day your Nigerian prince will come.

Well, if you have questions about the meaning of life or canning fruit or falling in love or twerking, don’t dismay: Google seems to have all the answers. Some explanations are more helpful than others, but probably the best piece of advice a search engine can give is: Keep looking.

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