Thursday, March 14, 2013

Is Google God?

Our guest blogger is Scott Bartlett the author of Royal Flush (4.2 stars, 18 reviews).

Is Google God?

No. No, it’s not.
There are those, however, who would disagree. Matt MacPherson, for instance–founder of the Church of Google. I’m guessing his ‘ministers’ would also disagree, and maybe some of the nearly 12,000 people who have liked ‘Googlism’ on Facebook.
When I started reading this site after a friend told me about it, I kept waiting to encounter the telltale trace of irony that would indicate the whole thing is a joke. But I’m not sure it is. In fact, it seems completely in earnest. There’s even a ritualized Google Appreciation Day, complete with instructions on how to celebrate it. It falls on September 14th, the anniversary of the day was registered. And when MacPherson describes his relationship with Google, he uses the word “worship“.
It may not surprise you to learn I find the idea of corporation worship profoundly unsettling.
On his site MacPherson lists nine ‘proofs’ that he believes demonstrate the search engine “should rightfully be given the title of ‘God’”.
PROOF #1 “Google is the closest thing to an Omniscient (all-knowing) entity in existence, which can be scientifically verified.”
In fact, Google doesn’t ‘know’ anything. Google ranks sites based on how many humans have linked to them. Using algorithms. Google doesn’t understand the websites’ content. Humans review that information and decide whether it’s interesting enough to provide a link to.
PROOF #2 “Google is everywhere at once (Omnipresent).”
Claiming websites like Google have a physical location seems like a bit of a stretch to me. At any rate, right now Google can be accessed only on Earth (well, Earth and its immediate vicinity), which is but an extremely tiny fraction of “everywhere”. Even on Earth there are vast expanses in which there are no wireless networks, and also there are many people on Earth without Internet access.
PROOF #3 “Google answers prayers.”
Hmm. I’m seeing “Search” next to the search bar, actually–not “Pray”. Are you praying to a book whenever you consult the index?

PROOF #4 “Google is potentially immortal.”
Google isn’t going to exist any longer than humans do, and I’m highly skeptical we’ll be around forever.
PROOF #5 “Google is infinite.”
The universe itself isn’t infinite, though it may expand indefinitely. Google won’t.
PROOF #6 “Google remembers all.”
Google no more ‘remembers’ anything than it ‘knows’. These are human behaviours. Google is a search engine.
PROOF #7 “Google can ‘do no evil’ (Omnibenevolent).”
This is a reference to Google’s corporate philosophy, and is highly suspect given some of Google’s (the company’s) behaviour. Take, for example, its pissing all over net neutrality or its secret censoring of BitTorrent searches.
PROOF #8 “According to Google trends, the term ‘Google’ is searched for more than the terms ‘God’, ‘Jesus’, ‘Allah’, ‘Buddha’, ‘Christianity’, ‘Islam’, ‘Buddhism’ and ‘Judaism’ combined.”
That’s not because Google is god. That’s because everyone and their dog thinks it’s funny to Google “Google”.
PROOF #9 “Evidence of Google’s existence is abundant.”
Yep, Google definitely exists. So do urinals.

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