This week’s blog topic is “What website are you most thankful for?”
Although it’s not the coolest site out there, I am most thankful for Google. Google is my gateway to the Internet.
I remember when we first got Internet connectivity at West Point – I was a senior. This was back in the day (1996). Of course we had email all along and some of the techno geeks were sharing files and info on networked bulletin boards and FTP sites, but for the clueless like myself, email was it. So when this thing called the Internet and a browser came along, I had no idea what to do with it.
I vividly remember sitting in a computer lab with my classmate (now husband…) as he showed me the Netscape browser (side note – the Wayback machine doesn’t even go that far back…). All I could do was stare at glowing arc icon and wonder what I was supposed to do with this. Sure it was cool, but where was I going to go, what was I going to look at? At that point, the Internet wasn’t useful to me at all and I remained a DOS-based email user for several more years.
Flash forward to 2001. Light years in Internet-time. I started using Google. Suddenly, I could find things. Even if I didn’t know I was looking for them, I could find ‘em.
When I first became a public affairs officer I started doing media analysis for my organization. Really, it was more of a media clipping with a short bit of summary, but you get the idea. I couldn’t have found all the media sources without Google. Unfortunately for me, I also found tons of stuff that I wasn’t looking for, so I tended to take way more time than was actually needed to finish the analysis each day.
Since then, Google has helped me (from the comfort of my desk) do research for papers, translate websites from Arabic to English, spend money, waste time, learn about esoteric subjects, find recipes, research and book travel, research cars, find a place to live, explore the long tail – you name it, Google helps me find it. Google is search for me.
So, although it’s not the coolest site out there, it is the one that I use constantly. It’s become so much more than just a verb – I don’t (can’t???) do anything online without it.
Turkey image by tuchodi, used under Creative Commons license