“Is this the new David Byrne?” my wife asked me.
“Yep,” I replied.
“The one with Brian Eno?”
“Yes…who did he used to play with?” I wondered aloud.
“You had to ask. It’s right on the tip of my tongue.”
“Oingo Boingo?” I offered.
“No, I think it begins with an ‘S’.”
I looked off, chewing the rest of my tuna fish sandwich, trying to think of bands from the 80’s that began with S. Simple Minds? No, that couldn’t be right.
“Roxy Music!” I heard from the other room. Cybele had obviously Googled the answer.
This is our answer to everything, and it may well be yours, too. I recently read a piece in Wired magazine where the author was unapologetic about using Google to find the answer to just about every question. He–and us Brookses–argue that there’s just too much information these days to expect that you’ll be able to keep it all in your noggin…especially if we only use 10% of it as some people believe.
In fact, Google has become so persuasive there’s a Web site dedicated to shutting down noobie questions called Let Me Google That for You. Anytime someone asks a question they could have easily Googled themselves, you can send them a link to the simple search.
For example, When does Festivus start? This was my introduction to the site as I innocently asked this question through a Twitter post and got this snarky link as a response. In fact, my Festivus tweet is currently the 2nd result at the time of this writing.
With my iPhone I can now call in a Google search, increasing my access to the wisdom of the Internet anywhere AT&T or wifi can reach. The other day I clicked the Google icon, spoke the name and town of a friend, and the first result included his home phone number; a clickable link on my smart phone. Sweet.
Or is it saccharine? I remember (vaguely) reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez where the village is cursed with forgetting (in my possibly faulty recollection.) Over time, they forget the names of daily objects, such as a chair or window. To compensate for this they start writing the names of items on pieces of paper and sticking them to the chair or window. That works great until they don’t even remember what the words mean. Finally, an old friend arrives and lifts the curse.
Is this the future we’re heading towards with our over-reliance on Google (and other, lesser search engines)? Last night Cybele and I watched Wall-E with the girls. Are we entering an age where we’re becoming the mental equivalent of the corpulent, non-ambulatory humans of our fictional future? Will Google become our crutch hover chair, where we never need to mentally exercise to get that band’s name off the tip of our collective tongues’?
In our home, I’m sure we’ll continue to use Google. However, maybe we need to institute a 5 minute delay on the Internet to answer our questions, give our noodles the exercise they need to keep from getting flabby.
BTW, no Google searches were conducted in the writing of this article, so it’s quite possible the Wired magazine article was actually something I read on the back of a box of Cap’n Crunch and the Gabriel Garcia Marquez story was actually the Archie comic issue where Jughead bumps his head and becomes a chick magnet.