The Cult(ure) of Google
Google has successfully interwoven itself directly into the fibers of our society. Case in point: You don't "Yahoo" anything, and you likely don't "Bing" stuff, either. But no one even blinks when you tell them to "Google" a topic or question. Google really is as much a verb as it is a search engine. And without Google, we might be using an equally common (and much less interesting) phrase, like "search it up," when goading our friends to find Web-based answers on their own.
Beyond the name, Google has also affected online and business culture, stressing simplicity and fun. For instance, you've likely seen Doodles. Doodles are graphical changes to the iconic Google logo that appear during special occasions and events. During holidays such as Christmas or Halloween, an appropriately Christmas-y or spooky image appears.
While Doodles harmlessly amuse most visitors, they can cause a ruckus. In 2010, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, Google created a Doodle that let visitors actually play a bit of the game. So many people played so much Pac-Man that day that one source estimated $120 million in lost productivity [source: PCWorld].
It's not all fun and games for Google, though. The company throws its significant financial heft into social and political causes. Google is making its facilities more environmentally conscious by using less energy, as well as sourcing more electricity from renewable sources like wind power. And around some Google buildings, there are no lawn mowers to keep grass trimmed. Instead, they use goats [source: Google]. These efforts, among many others, burnish Google's green image and push other companies to be more respectful of the environment.
Google has undoubtedly transformed the technological world, and, by extension, affected the way we interact with each other as human beings. Now we Google each other before we meet in person and find the best prices on products all over the planet with a couple of clicks.
No matter how much you love or hate Google, there's little doubt that your life is somehow affected every day by this company. And for that reason alone, let's hope that those holed up in the company's headquarters (the Googleplex) stick to their stated motto: "Don't Be Evil."
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- Rogers, Garrett. "What the World Would be Like Without Google." Zdnet.com. July 3, 2006. (July 27, 2011) http://www.zdnet.com/blog/google/what-the-world-would-be-like-without-google/252
- Thompson, Clive. "Your Outboard Brain Knows All." Wired.com. September 25, 2007. (July 27, 2011) http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/15-10/st_thompson