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The Internet is no internet without google

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Earlier today something went wrong with google in Russia. I’ve no idea what it was, it’s just that for maybe about an hour google and all its services first slowed down to a crawl and then went down completely for maybe 15-30 minutes. Entering google.com in the browser and hitting enter would give you an error message and pinging 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 would result in one request timed out after another.  I assume it must have been some technical glitch, or possibly the FSB trialling a new firewall and as is the custom with them, failing miserably.

So left without google I felt like I was marooned in a sea of information without rhyme or reason. I went to yahoo and then bing but to my total horror, neither of them allow you to limit your search to content that’s been updated in the last 24 hours, in the last day etc, a feature that’s been part of google for yonks.  It was a harsh reminder of why all the other engines still suck next to google. Even yandex, the Russian ‘yet another index’ that some people prefer for searches in the Russian internet as it supposedly does a better job of finding all possible inflected forms of Russian word, doesn’t seem to have this extremely useful feature and it sucks.

It’s kind of weird but I still have vague memories of the Internet without google. Back in the day everybody was using altavista.com and when I saw google for the first time I was unimpressed. It looked kind of spartan, just a search box. It’s definitely gone a long way from those humble beginnings. Just how much of an integral part of the Internet it has become over the years was made very clear to me today as all of a sudden I couldn’t access it. It felt as if the Internet just stopped making sense, I was lost, totally without direction.  That’s what the power of habit can reduce us to.

At the same time it makes me wonder what the Internet will be like in the future, post-google. After all it’s only a matter of time before google gets overtaken and left in the dust by some other technology.

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