In college, this reporter once took a “new media” class where the professor let loose a terrifying edict: As homework, we would not be allowed to use any Google products for the entire week. That meant no Google search, no Gmail, no Gcal… nothing.
The experiment was supposed to teach us just how reliant we were upon one company for many of a college student’s basic needs, like learning, communicating and organizing.
It was not the darkest hour of this reporter’s life, but it was a very, very dark one.
Never talented at ‘unplugging,’ this reporter pitched a fit. When the professor refused to relent, she gave it a try. She replaced Google search with Bing (lol), she texted instead of emailed.
Still, she did not last 12 hours.
It appears that we are not alone in our pathetic reliance on the GOOG. The Onion published a hilarious segment on News Blitz entitled, “Google Shuts Down Gmail For Two Hours To Show Its Immense Power,” and it hit a little close to home. (We’ve embedded the video below–skip to the :38 mark for the Gmail segment.)
Aided by Google’s PR team, they came to the conclusion that Google Search was getting an entire overhaul–except that almost everything the Wall Street Journal reported is already part of the search engine’s functionality.
As Danny Sullivan argues at Search Engine Land, Google already offers “web search, providing more direct answers and gaining ‘semantic’ smarts to understand more about what words mean.”
It appears the Wall Street Journal may have been duped by a PR stunt reframing everything old as new.
We can’t really blame them, though. Occasionally we still shoot up in the middle of the night, sweaty and shaken, having dreamt about those 12 hours we tried to live sans GOOG.