I once visited the caput mundi of search, the Google headquarters in Mountain View. I was amazed to see the small offices where Google crams their people to generate creativity and collaboration. I got to sample the legendary Google
food that is seemingly everywhere within arm’s reach. I even saw Sergey Brin sweating hard in a volleyball game in the courtyard on a sunny weekday afternoon. Ah, life in Silicon Valley.
But what was most memorable about my visit to Google, though, was a projection screen in the lobby that flashed non-stop, scrolling through real-time searches from around the world. I stood amazed by the barrage of words and questions, a silent, ceaseless stream of curiosity and inquiry, and a telling glimpse into the inner lives of people everywhere.
I now have a new favorite digital hobby: Typing random words in Google to see what appears in the drop-down menu. Today I tried entering “pictures”. Of all the pictures in the world (and by now in our digital era there must be, what, billions of pictures?), what do you think are the top things
people want to see, at least today? It turns out to be Jesus, Justin Bieber and dogs. In that order.
I’m still trying to figure out exactly what deep insight this unlikely trio reveals about us as a society. I guess I’ll try to look it up on Google....
Originally published 5/28/10