On the 27th of July this year, which was observed as Guru Purnima day – a day where we remember our gurus/teachers in life, a meme which was going viral on WhatsApp showed a student prostrating before “Google” and paying his respects on Guru Purnima day to the search engine! As much as it’s a joke to laugh about, one cannot miss the irony looking at the reality of the search engine’s clutch on our lives today!
Google today, is a gargantuan Eco system. But here, we are referring to its earliest avatar –the search engine. For this generation, their first and probably only chosen resort for discovering answers to any question is “Google”! School is just for parents’ reassurance! Our generation which studied and survived without Google in those days seem so dated now! In conversations among our peers, this dialogue is often said and heard – “In our times there was no Google. We all worked so hard. And look at kids these days! They just Google and get all information what they want without moving their a**s!” That the lines are often pregnant with envy which is never missed by the kids is another matter!
Well, forget this generation. What will happen to “us”, the “Doordarshan” generation of the 70’s and 80’s if the search engine stops working one fine morning???
- Where will we get those “thought for the day” messages for circulating every morning in the WhatsApp groups??
- How do we take important decisions like whether to dry clothes inside or outside? Go back to the old fashioned way of searching the Newspaper for weather forecast! And use the thumb rule of drying clothes outside if IMD says heavy rain is in store for the day!
- Travelling and reaching a new place means calling up and asking for proper directions and landmarks and religiously noting them in a piece of paper and not forgetting to put that in your pocket before leaving and leaving sufficiently early to be there on time and,… and,…
- Did you just get used to the Uber or Ola App after repeated pestering by your kids? Then time to get back to the old ways of hailing the cab on the road and haggling about the faulty meter or the amount “above” the meter!
- One may have to think many times before taking up the challenge of trying out some new exotic recipes at home! And have to go back to the time-tested way of calling the mother for any recipe! And have to start maintaining that cooking book!
- And imagine what will happen to the parents when faced with school assignments and projects without Google!!! And get used to taunts like – “Dad, the answer you taught yesterday for the problem is totally wrong!!”
- And as parents, forget about becoming heroes in the eyes of children by answering some weird, tough questions on general knowledge or some such thing by surreptitiously checking on Google!
- Tieing that saree the very traditional way for the puja is going to be nerve-wracking!
- Where will you get the jokes for the all-important seminar the next day?
- And where will one find answers to all those silly and not so silly “How to…” questions?
- So and so forth
I am just listing the obvious.
It’s clear that not this just generation or the Gen Next, even the older ones today, cannot pass a single day without Google.
Google spent or is still spending tonnes of dollars on traditional media like TV for popularising the idea of “googling” with older generation as their main target audience! When you have the most popular online platform trying to spread awareness about itself through TV commercials, Billboards, Newspaper ads, irony just “googled” for the best way to commit suicide!!!
Look at these TVCs here! These are certainly endearing but I wonder if today is there a real need for anyone to advertise virtues of “Google”??? Well, probably this will fall under CSR for Google for helping the economy of the country with its huge ad spend!
Jokes apart, Google is participating in real CSR for example with projects like providing Free Wi-Fi at Railway stations. But the larger game plan must be to make people get used to the Google Ecosystem which is today omnipresent! From Search to Mails to Video sharing to Smart phone OS to Cloud sharing to Photo sharing to so many things! While there are options and semblance of competition in others, for internet search, competition is non-existent or is far off.
Any product with no competition is worrisome. We can see today how SEO techniques are being used by most to influence search results and increasingly are either not reliable or dis-honest! Time to have a challenger to Google!
Postscript: Did I say competition for Google search is non-existent? Well I take back. I am married. Don’t you remember this??? I just googled and found this 😀