What did we do before Google? I Googled that on the Internet and found that nine of the first 10 responses were online articles seeking to answer that specific question.
What did we do before Google?
I Googled that on the Internet and found that nine of the first 10 responses were online articles seeking to answer that specific question.
One of the articles, at www.answerology.com, began with the question, “Can you ever remember a time when we couldn’t just ‘Google it?”
And another article, at www.matazone.co.uk, answered by insisting, like an old and cranky encyclopedia user, what we did was “we worked a lot harder.”
We didn’t just wonder something and run to the computer to ask it a question. We drove to the library, or at least called the library, and asked the librarian to look it up in any of the thousands of reference books she had at her disposal. And she would do this for us because she needed the job.
But she wouldn’t do it millions of times, of course, which is what is happening on the Internet. I Googled it and found out that as of May 2010, more than 85.6 million questions had been resolved by Yahoo Answers alone. And that didn’t even count mine.
A lot of those Googled questions are goofy.
I Googled to learn what questions people are asking. And, since I was using the company computer, I broke them down into the traditional journalistic categories of questions beginning with “who, what, when, where, why and how.”
Many of the questions were important practical, philosophical questions, such as “What is the meaning of love?” or “Who had the first 1 million followers on Twitter?” or “When did Elvis die?” or “Who invented pi?” and even “How do I help a friend like Lindsay Lohan?”
The world is waiting for answers to those queries. Once we get them solved, we’ll apparently be able to move on to finding out “How can you tell if your frog is pregnant?” and “Where can I find an attractive older man?”
I am not making these questions up. They are actual Internet queries others Googled to get answers to such critical questions as “When did time begin?” and “When did the ’80s start?”
I’m guessing that the answer to the last one is 1980, but Googling will confirm this fact in a matter of seconds, which is far more efficient than the old days, when the typical librarian might have stood there for many minutes just laughing and throwing out sarcastic observations about the public education system.
Here are some other Googled questions that might make this librarian, at the very least, smile or shake her head.
• “How can you get taller?”
• “Where can I find a vampire?”
• “Who was the first person voted off ‘Survivor’?”
• “When did the term ‘jet lag’ first get used?”
• “Why are manhole covers round?”
• “Why are pencils yellow?”
• “How can you train honeybees to sniff for bombs?”
• “Why are librarians so sexy?”
Apparently, even in the Internet age, librarians still are loved.