Google enjoyed another validation last week when Pope Francis met with Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google’s parent company and Jared Cohen, the man in charge of Google Ideas. For 15 minutes, the trio were reportedly together. What they however discussed is not in the public domain. The Pope has in recent times showed that religion is not a barrier to benefitting from the internet. After all, he once referred to the internet as a ‘gift from God’.
Google has continued to position itself as a leader of the online industry. Google is the new synonym for search. With several products from the company, it is now even more than just a search engine. Only a handful of people across the world know that there are other search engines apart from Google. Bing, owned by Microsoft ranks next to Google. Yahoo! Search, DuckDuckGo.com, WolframAlpha.com, Ask.com, blekko.com, Yandex.com, scrubtheweb.com, gigablast.com, ixquick.com and a number of others also exists. Google further uses individual searches to profile the interests and needs of users and then targets adverts at them.
Google has conquered all facets of our internet lives. It is the kingpin of the new media family. Anyone today who uses the internet would have contact with one or several of Google products. Chrome browser, Google Calender, Google News, Google Maps, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Google+, Google Alerts, Google Scholar, Google Groups, Google Trader, Gmail, Google Hangouts and Google drive are some of the major products of Google. Students and researchers would remain indebted to this tool that has changed the face of scholarship.
Google is now a subsidiary of Alphabet. Created in 2015, Alphabet is the parent company of all business interests owned by Google. The company, today has web based products, operating systems like the Android for Smart phones, hardware like the Nexus, desktop applications like the Google toolbar and also mobile applications. Given the huge meta-data that Google has to deal with on regular basis, it is today the biggest server company in the world. With cloud technology catching up heavily on use now, this title may hold for a very long time. Also trail blazing by Google is the Google Glass, one of the most clairvoyant and far reaching advances in the new media age. It is one of the few technologies merging strongly the activities of humans and computers and it is currently on a lone journey with no known competitor – at least known to the public.
With Google as a form of transactional memory which we rely on when the need is at hand, is the human brain not becoming redundant? But then, there’s also the argument that the brain now has access to more information in lesser time than it used to previously. It is also not just about the memory, there’s also the issue of refusing to keep our hard disks and memories chips busy with information storage for later use when we are sure that all we need do is Google it when next we need it. Humanity can only hope that the internet and Google holds for as long as humans exist. Google is human’s all-knowing and knowledgeable oracle. Definitely more powerful than Paul the Octopus!
The easy access to the internet would mean easy access to Google as well. In well-developed environments, it would no longer count to know the address and location of a friend’s place again as long as the friend can email or text the address to you. Google Map would do the ‘magic’. May the day we can’t Google never come! Even Google map now allows for some level of offline use.
Google is equally a sound test of fame. Does Google know you? If you attempt to search your name and it auto fills, then the answer is yes. The very popular and addictive website has become man’s most prominent artificial intelligence amplifying the human cause and worth. Like every other growing organisation, it has also had it shares of failed products and discontinued ones. Google, like other web platforms have had a number of glitches and reverted quickly and given Microsoft’s Internet explorer a run for its money with Google Chrome. Google has helped to reduce unemployment in Nigeria and around the world. Anyone today, irrespective of age can develop an android based app, put it up on Google Play and earn from the downloads. Young people can also today put up blogs and sites and earn from their contents by placing Google AdSense on it. Its imprints in Nigeria is also bold especially with the .ng extension allowing for platforms like Google Trader which allows people list their products and services for free in localised ways. In addition, it has also saved advertisement cost for companies. Google is responsible for the upward surge in online advert patronage through her effective system, knowing from the backend exactly who wants what.
Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while still PhD students at Stanford University, it was initially called ‘Backrub’. The domain name www.google.com was registered in 1997 while Google as a company came to be in 1998. With about 60,000 employees around the world and revenue of 66 billion USD as at 2014, Google is keen on being around for long.
Sola Fagorusi is a social entrepreneur and a prized freelance writer with a bias for youth and rural development. He started off as a youth staff with Action Health Incorporated in 2001. The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife alumnus currently manages the programmes ofOneLife Initiative, Nigeria. ‘Sola is a DESPLAY Africa (Africa’s foremost and most consistent annual youth democracy academy) fellow and has been on its faculty since 2011. Keenly interested in governance and pan-Africanism, he volunteers as online editor of YouthHub Africa; a cyber-community for young Africans involved in social change. He believes in the efficacy of oratory and writing as tools to drive developmental engagements. As a freelance writer, he spares time to pen thoughts on contemporary societal issues and is a weekly columnist with Nigeria’s most read daily ? Punch Newspaper. His training and capacity cuts across democracy and governance, leadership, micro-enterprise, ICT4D, SRH, value chains, development communication and policy issues. He tweets @SolaFagro and blogs at www.kadunaboy.com
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