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Editorial

Does Google = God? 294

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that-job-was-supposed-to-be-mine dept.
lgreco writes "In an op/ed for the NYT, Thomas Friedman wonders "Is Google God?" Interesting article that disseminates things mostly known to and hopefully well understood by the Slashdot readership. The fact that such commentary made it to the NYT op/ed pages is remarkable." It's the NYT, so a free registration is required.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Does Google = God?

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  • Google IS God (Score:4, Insightful)

    by presroi (657709) <neubau@presroi.de> on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:13AM (#6324443) Homepage
    since google news does not need to register

    you can be god, too:

    [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/29/opinion/2 9F RIE.html?ex=1057464000&en=5a99f13790700f88&ei=5062 &partner=GOOGLE[/url]
  • Yes, google is god (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sgarrity (262297) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:13AM (#6324446) Homepage
    A co-worker of mine has been claiming that google is god for two years now [actsofvolition.com].
    • by Lispy (136512) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @09:42AM (#6324760) Homepage
      Actually I prefer to think about Google, or the web in general, as the hitchikers guide to galaxy as described in Douglas Adams novels. It knows about anything but most of the time the answer might not quite be what you were looking for.

      cu,
      Lispy
    • Google! Google! GOOGLE!

      It's only a search engine.

      Let us search with Google!

      +1
    • by cpeterso (19082) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @02:34PM (#6326152) Homepage

      I think Google is an emerging AI. Most AI research (like OpenCyc [opencyc.com]) involves a rule-engine and a HUGE data set. Eventually, the manual data entry (and fact-checking) of new rules is a huge road block.

      I think Google's huge database of knowledge (the Internet) could be tied to an AI engine front-end. Suddenly, the data entry of new rules is massively parallelized! Sure the Internet is full of spam, ads, pr0n, lies, missing data, and conflicting statements, but Google's PageRank already does a good job of filtering these out. The Internet's redundant "multipe truth" nature is self-correcting. Human intelligences must face those same knowledge-input problems, too. :-)

      So be careful what you say on the Internet, because Google Is Watching...

      • by MikeFM (12491)
        Part of the reason I collect the Internet (millions of pictures, movies, documents, etc from random sources) is for my AI project. IMO pure text extraction isn't likely to form a very useful AI. Once you tie in sensory data (sight, sound, etc) then text extraction becomes much more powerful. You can get more intuitive connections that pure word relationships wouldn't make.

        I think P2P networks are more likely to form an AI than Google is. As P2P networks improve in finding relationships between data on diff
  • Article via CNN (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:17AM (#6324461)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:19AM (#6324467)
    God wins [googlefight.com]
  • by James Littiebrant (622596) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:19AM (#6324469)
    Give us now our dayly searches, forgive us of our articles, as we have put them in our keywords. Please O Google grant me now a privilige to use your mighty powers to find the answers to my searches.
  • I asked it [google.com]. It came back with 7.536 hits.

    I also asked Googlefight [googlefight.com].

    In light of the overwhelming evidence, I'd say "Yes."
  • by lordlod (458156) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:21AM (#6324479)
    "... only one-third come from inside the U.S. The rest are in 88 other languages."

    Americans may speak funny but generally its still known as english. Amazingly it's actually spoken outside of the US as well.
  • by BuddaPxx (636044) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:21AM (#6324480)
    Does Google = God? Yes. Always.

    Does Google == God? Yes. Could change...but not likely :)
    • by Ratcrow (181400) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:43AM (#6324556) Homepage
      If God == 0, then Google = God would be false.

      Then again, if you believe that God is real, or at least a float, then the specific test that God == 0.000000 is likely to come back true. Now, the real question is whether having strcmp("Google", "God") > 0 being true is a serious theological problem.
  • by Radon Knight (684275) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:21AM (#6324481)
    Would it be possible for the posters of articles to include at least some hint of the content of the piece?

    I mean, my first reaction to the question "Is Google God?" is "No... Next topic!" Presumably the article is asking something at least slightly more compelling or interesting, but we have no idea of what that might be.

    The site is supposed to be news for nerds... not sound bites for nerds. Although I guess that is a lot of what passes for news in the States.

    • by aepervius (535155) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:30AM (#6324514)
      Summary : google + wireless = inforamtion available for everybody everywhere. They compare it to omniscience and thus gods (btw, where is the other part traditionnaly associated to gods, omnipotence :) ?).

      Then they go on rambling that this will allow the bad guy to touch "more" the U.S. (what of the rest of the western world...?) and allow them unite quicker and better.

      I think this is a "slow news" sunday, thus this [devoid of content] article went on slashdot...
      • by netsharc (195805)
        Well, his words certainly shows how he feels - "the USA is drifting further away from the real world", and what does that really mean, that this new God is going to help the evils (these days that's everybody other than the Americans, the US itself is never evil) against the USA, and so they should control it. How apt, he's saying America should control not only technology, but "God" himself.
    • This seems to me like a primer for "let's secure the internet befroe its too late" with a catchy tag-line used to grab the eyes of every person with an opinion on god or the internet more than any serious NYT worthy piece (and yes, I realize its an op/ed). Yes, it is going over what _every_ geek has already stubled on in some way at some point in the last few years: my computer+internet= opportunity for an infinite warehouse of knowledge always at my fingetips. Whatever question one wants answered is magica
      • What Friedman is talking about, and has written about before, is globalization. Look at it this way, what are his goals for this article? He wants people to realize that, more than ever, the US is an equal partner in the world, that we need to be good listeners. Information is the great equalizer, right?

        He is worried about a return to isolationist tendencies of the early 1900s. Is is worried, because it is no longer possible to isolate ourselve from the world. Of course, it was a bad idea back then, but th
  • by Dthoma (593797) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:22AM (#6324485) Journal
    It just has some vague statistics about increasing numbers of Google searches and DNS requests in the last three years, then some specualtion by a talking head tech pundit about how "the rate of technological integration has intensified" and how in future everybody will be connected to everybody else.
  • Google Search (Score:4, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:23AM (#6324488) Journal
    Google search for google is god [google.com]
    some of the winners:
    Google is God, Don't Piss Her Off
    All Things Spiritual - Home of Google God! Pictures of Angels
    Cold Fury: Good God Google
    and last but not least: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Panopticon [oreillynet.com]
  • by Hecateus (628867) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:26AM (#6324496)
    While Google is the first thing I look at when I start up my browser... ...I am still waiting for Goollot. ;)
  • Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by ergonal (609484) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:26AM (#6324497)
    Summary:

    I thought this article was supposed to be about Google and God, but it was more about wi-fi and how wi-fi combined with Google will allow you to "find anything, anywhere, anytime". But it THEN goes on about how broadband adoption will allow al-Qaeda will be able to more easily send recruitment videos using video-on-demand. Of course, it mentions 9/11, as expected. It also says that America has to take "it" seriously. Oh, and it states a couple of interesting statistics. Yay. There, now you don't need to RTFA.

  • by localroger (258128) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:27AM (#6324500) Homepage
    ...is not the snazzy comment about google=god but the well-taken point that small groups of people who hate [pick target] will be able to much more effectively mobilize, recruit, and act in a world where everyone is connected and searches are universal.

    Note the last paragraph about the effectiveness of Osama bin Laden's recruiting videos, and the possibility of targeting them precisely via broadband video. Brrrrrr.

    • by twitter (104583) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @10:06AM (#6324863) Homepage Journal
      Note the last paragraph about the effectiveness of Osama bin Laden's recruiting videos, and the possibility of targeting them precisely via broadband video.

      GW Bush: Get me some of that broadband video! I'm so sick of targeting Ossama Bin Laden only to hit a camel in the ass. That Google [google.com] thing sucks. 2,900 answers but not one of them knows where I can find that asshole.

    • by securitas (411694) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @10:32AM (#6324947) Homepage Journal


      And that brings me to the point of this column: While we may be emotionally distancing ourselves from the world, the world is getting more integrated. That means that what people think of us, as Americans, will matter more, not less. Because people outside America will be able to build alliances more efficiently in the world we are entering and they will be able to reach out and touch us -- whether with computer viruses or anthrax recipes downloaded from the Internet -- more than ever.

      The point is more fear and paranoiac fantasies as only Thomas Friedman can spin, with an evil-doer under every rock, a terrorist behind every tree and, now, a rabid, sweaty-toothed madman coming to get us behind every keyboard.

      From his lofty perch high atop the NY Times, Friedman has seen a career revival thanks to 9/11, winning a Pulitzer for his turgid writing about the event and its effects. When Friedman gets basic facts just plain wrong, it makes you wonder how much else he gets wrong, or otherwise intentionally distorts or misrepresents just so he can make everyone see the world through his lens where terrorists will get all of us.

      Examples?

      VeriSign, which operates much of the Internet's infrastructure...

      and

      A domain request is anytime anyone types in .com or .net

      Really? The last time I checked VeriSign was only responsible for maintaining the .com and .net registries, as well as most SSL certificate services. There are 243 country code top-level domains [iana.org], plus the .org TLD [pir.org], not just .com and .net. The way Friedman makes it sound it's as if there's nothing else out there, and I'm not sure which is worse: that he was too lazy or too apathetic to talk to anyone other than VeriSign to get a basic understanding of the Internet to accurately write about it for his many non-technical readers.

      These are basic facts and are simple to check. Any journalism student can do this so why doesn't Friedman?

      Given his penchant for hyperbole in overstating the negative consequences of everything and minimizing the positives, it's no surprise that Friedman has completely missed the fact that the same technologies he fears are just as capable of opening up communications. He says that while the world is growing more integrated and what the world thinks about the USA will matter more, the USA is becoming ideologically isolationist and it doesn't need to heed what the rest of the world tells it. Proliferation of the Internet facilitates the free exchange of ideas that can result in better understanding and relations with the rest of the world, which Friedman apparently believes is full of nothing but some sort of irrational monolithic hatred.

      When Friedman takes such a reductionist view of the world that amounts to Us vs. Them, is it any wonder that all Friedman can see are terrorists, terrorists everywhere and not a refuge in sight.

      When the only tool you have is a hammer the whole world looks like a nail.

      • ...even if he focuses mainly on the negative. The ability of small focused internationally scattered groups to coalesce via the Internet is changing our society at many levels.

        Sometimes this is a good thing. If I am curious about ultralight aircraft, or antique radios, or some other hobby with a limited number of enthusiasts I can quickly find a lot of information, join a group, and get involved.

        But it also means that if my interests tend more toward alt.suicide.holiday or thinking the Jews have taken

    • Google does not allow sites to use their Google Adwords to advertise themselves if the topic suggests "anti-" anything (e.g. the public school system) in the slightest way. See my two [underreported.com] stories [underreported.com] on it, as well as one from another site [unknownnews.net] experiencing the same problem.
  • Two different pieces by Times editorialists in one day?! I'm loving it!

    More! More!

  • US == English? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Quote from the article:

    And get this: only one-third come from inside the U.S. The rest are in 88 other languages.


    So what is that supposed to mean? Only the english language is used in US searches or that outside the US there are no english searches? Maybe the assumption is that an english submission must be US-based.

    I stopped reading the article at that point. I'm like that. Maybe I have some kind of disorder.
    • I think he's refering to the fact that by default www.google.com [google.com] presents its interface in English, while www.google.de [google.de] presents its interface in German and www.google.it [google.it] presents its interface in Italian.

      www.google.co.uk [google.co.uk] is another English interface, but unlike www.google.com [google.com] it offers a mode to search only UK sites. It's likely presumed that English-speaking users use their own localized Google site rather than the USA site for better performance.
  • Er, no.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trevalyx (627273) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:31AM (#6324515) Homepage
    First off, the title of the article is somewhat sensationalist, as the premise isn't really "Is Google God?", it's more of a "How should we Americans adjust now that 9/11 is over and done with and the world is in it's changing paradigm?"

    But that's not my point. My point is the comparison is quite ludicrous.
    Says Alan Cohen, a V.P. of Airespace, a new Wi-Fi provider: "If I can operate Google, I can find anything. And with wireless, it means I will be able to find anything, anywhere, anytime. Which is why I say that Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires. Now, for many questions in the world, you ask Google, and increasingly, you can do it without wires, too."


    There is the disclaimer "little bit" in there, but even so, it feels a lot like Beowulfian "flyting" in the nasty "pay attention to me!" sense. Google may be wireless, but only when it piggy-backs on another, even vaster service, and even so, it's only such part of the time. Not to mention, as ability goes, it's not exactly omnipotent. And anyone who worships Google in more than a "Hey, I've got the toolbar" kind of way should probably reconsider their choice of deity. As dieties go, Google is probably a bit more deserving than some other common choices today, of course, but is still on the "Not such a great idea" side of the choices of "things, Things, dieties, and God's to worship."
    • Oh, that's just some wireless promoter talking. "This really important thing can be used via my unimportant thing, so my thing must be important too."
    • When I was a kid, I thought I knew everything and I connected to other people without wires. It's called a paper-cup-and-string telephone. I guess that makes me a little bit like God, too. An idiotic argument, but I hope you see my point.

      Scroll back a little, because Tommy-boy is very sensationalist [slashdot.org].

      Since this Alan Cohen, a V.P. of Airespace fellow ascribes omniscience as a quality of Google, let's examine that.

      I take your point about the "little bit" caveat. The only problem is that you can't be a "l

  • by wfberg (24378) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:32AM (#6324518)
    Jeez Louise.. Terrorists will be using the interweb to organize more efficiently! Foreign people who hate use will be able to talk about us behind our backs! (No mention that the internet has done more to proliferate American culture and "values" than MTV or McDonalds, or that the internet can be, and actually is, used for good as well as evil..)

    Don't get your panties in a wad, United States. Better start fearing your domestic Police State To Be!

    OMFG! There's a knife next to my plate! What if a terrorist had sat down here!
  • After reading this article I was quite disappointed. As has been said earlier it appears to be a fluff piece talking mostly about Wi-Fi followed by using google to find anything anywhere.

    If I was a more suspicious person (or paranoid) I would think this was really an veiled attempt to scare people into being afraid of the big-bad Internat and its ability to link like minded people of various hatreds to each other in ways not before seen. Want to get permission to crack down on free-speach on the Internet?
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:43AM (#6324550) Homepage Journal
    If I can operate Google, I can find anything. And with wireless, it means I will be able to find anything, anywhere, anytime. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires.

    Drugs will do that to you sometimes, but the important thing is not to try and write articles and stuff in that "bent" state of mind. In my case, these delusions of grandeur usually pass in a few hours time. A good night's sleep should help too.

    Peace \\//

  • the original post can be found here [presroi.de].

    I hope the English translation is precise enough to preserve my argument.

    cnn.com: Is Google God?
    Slashdot|Does Google = God?

    In a nice column in the New York Times (article at the same time taken over of CNN ) the question is set up whether google God is.

    Naturally polemiken have again and again economic situation, if the reality is too contradictory or the purse calls thereafter, to fast still press a few lines into the next expenditure.

    Why should Google be God?

    Google supplies as well as all answers, if one knows the question. Here is the first thought error, because Google can only strengthen, which eh is already present. I have each day in my log file hit of retrieval queries, which are completely sense-free.

    Google steers nothing to this pool however at 1986 a google on the existing techniques - Usenet, Gopher, ftp - jokeless would have been and a completely grotesque view into the world would have revealed. The way, as google will possibly determine the everyday life in the future, should be reason of enough to up-save the picture of the all-powerful Google still another little.
    Google does not verify information. A little HTML Bastlerei is sufficient, in order to place * its * to view of the things in the net. The democratic beginning of google, through PAGE-climb the linking foot people on it co-ordinate to let, which sides are read worthy now, nothing changes in the fact that one makes oneself dependent on the majority and not by the truth.
    If I would ascend over night at place 1 of any search words, then nothing would change in the coming day. Neither I nor my tools google have here the breath of a power.

    Is a book God?
    Who writes, remains (closely: publish or perish) is the antiquity variant of "google is God". Only indirect power each writing (googlebaren) person lies in the chance to change the collective memory little. Possibly and perhaps only for short time. Also over the thought of the eternity the connection God and Google could not be designed.

    What is power?
    Friedman sees a power in the connection of up-to-date available technologies (google via WAP or other wireless DEVICES). It does not create it to bind the actual time of the exercise of power to google. It would be already for it power (power in the sense of goettlicher power?), if I can in a 5-Millionen-Dollar-Quiz Show with google find out, which request was the last one of our dear Wolfgang Goethe?

    If I chatte, besides always the google runs toolbar. It is an indication of attention opposite other persons, if one reads oneself in into its Hobbies and can them the feeling give to be interested in their requests. It is also fraud or espionage on my account, depends on circumstances. This is not divine action, this is also not striving for such a status.

    Is Larry PAGE God?
    If I look for in Google for President United States trust I to Dubya to be led and not too whitehouse.com or to Osama are Ladin. That I owe to the integrity of the people of Google Inc., which often gave reason in the past already to criticism. Keyword xenu.net. If in this whole Konstrukt someone makes has, then it is the administrator of the Google data base, which could return as desired search results. That is power, if at all.
  • by halo8 (445515) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:44AM (#6324563)
    Did anyone else get a chill through there spine that at that EXACT same moment John Ashcroft was reading that article ?

    and that very soon there will be a senate commitee on Google and search engines?

    stop! just think about that for a while... ... ... ... scary isnt it?
  • If Google = God, then does Slashdot = Satan?

    EEP!
  • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:51AM (#6324583) Homepage

    I've read Thomas Friedman's book, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree", and I can say the answer to that question is yes.


    Thomas Friedman has a basic understanding that the 1990's saw major changes in the technological and social structure of the world. He uses this to make up sweeping trite statements about things that he doesn't really understand. Some of his statements are true, but he sugarcoats them and puts them in impressive terms that make them seem more impressive than they are.


    For example, he has the famous statement: "Two nations with McDonald's have never gone to war with each other". Yes, that is true, but it actually means "advanced industrialized democracies don't go to war with each other", or perhaps "nation states no longer go to war with each other". But he puts it in flashy terms, and sounds like it is a magical formula.


    "Is Google God" is his flashy way of saying "Is the internet a source of near endless information?". When you put it in those terms, then, well, yes, it is. But he gets away with being a serious writer by changing his words around and seeming to say something new.


    It's people like him that make me wonder why Slashdotters ever bothered to complain about Jon Katz.

    • he has the famous statement: "Two nations with McDonald's have never gone to war with each other". Yes, that is true, but it ... sounds like it is a magical formula.

      The sum of Google, GE, AOL/TW, MSN/NBC, McDonalds and Disney, integrated from 1990 to the infinite future is GOD.

      Don't tell anyone!

    • You obviously don't reall remember Jon Katz' stuff that well. Neither do I, thank god.
    • by RobertFisher (21116) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @12:03PM (#6325393) Homepage Journal
      I've read both Friedman's book The Lexus and the Olive Tree [amazon.com], and his book From Beirut to Jerusalem [amazon.com], and I can solidly say the answer to this question is no.

      One thing you must understand about Friedman is that he is a journalist originally schooled in Middle-Eastern studies, who served as a correspondant to Lebanon during the Beirut war, and as a correspondant to Israel during the first Intifadah. These reports earned him two Pulitzer prizes during the 1980s, and are summarized in From Beirut to Jerusalem. Quite simply, it is a excellently-crafted book which has deep insights into the mindsets of the Middle Eastern peoples, developed over years of education and years more direct first-hand reporting experience during some of the most tumultous events in the Middle East in recent history. (Not that the book is without its limitations; many times his own bias as an American Jew shows through. But it is still excellent.)

      Since that time, Friedman has been moved out of Middle Eastern reporting, and has gone on to other duties at the NYT. From that reporting came his two most recent books, including The Lexus and the Olive Tree. His insights in these works are not as near as deep as in From Beirut to Jerusalem, and I did not care for them much at all.

      However, you are completely off-base if you think that Friedman is a hack. In essenece, you are taking quotes completely out of context, and seem to forget that pages and pages of interpretation and elucidation surround those flashy quotes. To take another example, in From Beirut to Jerusalem, he describes his first-hand witness of the aftermath of the massacre at Hama in Syria, where Assad slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people. (A story he broke, incidentally, as the first international correspondent to arrive at the scene.) In 30 pages of text, he describes in great detail the historical background of modern-day Syria, leading up to the slaughter at Hama, and his own first-hand account of what he saw there. His punchline -- describing the rules of Middle Eastern politics as "Hama Rules" or "no rules at all", is a distinctive stylistic flourish to summarize a concept, based in fact and in interpretation. One may dispute the universality of such claims, but in no way can one dispute the strength of Friedman's knowledge of the history of the region.

      When the insight is deep (as is often the case in his writing on the Middle East), then the impact of the writing can be powerful indeed. In the case of his more recent writings, where he is (as he himself admits) writing as a non-expert, the impact is far less substantial.

  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @08:53AM (#6324592) Homepage
    Sure, the technical details of the article were fluff.

    However, the real point of the article is that in an increasingly linked world, it is more important than ever to be good world citizens.

    Lord Rees Moag and James Davidson make this point in their book 'Sovereign Individual": large countries become increasingly vulnerable to small countries and organized groups because of the threats of cyber attacks, etc.

    As this article points out, with the free flow of information, small groups can share information and form larger political and action groups.

    Not to be political, but I was against the recent Iraq War because I think that it is a very bad idea to alienate other countries when we largely depend on the global "dollar standard" for hoarding money and purchasing oil to prop up our economy. I am a more than a little concerned that our turning our backs on the UN will cause us all kinds of problems in the future. (BTW, the US has vetoed 35 UN security council resolutions ssince 1970 - so, it was not so atypical for Russia, France, and Germany to threaten to veto one of our resolutions.

    -Mark

  • I can't believe it made it to the NYT either.. cause it's a really shitty sensationalist article.

    Verisign operates "much of the internet's infrastructure?". The hell it does. 9 billion domain requests a day? I doubt that too.

    That America has to be careful because the internet lets like minded people who hate the US get together more easily? Man, if anything shows the collective fear of attack the US has always had, this is it. Is that the only thing you guys can think of? That someone is going to attack
  • The I guess we will be seening churches with computer termnals, mainframes instead of preists, and thermal grease instead of holy water. They are right though, when we are frustrated and can't find something we are always looking to google and pray it will find it.
  • by rf0 (159958)
    Google is god now but it use to be yahoo then altavista. Basically what I'm saying is that something else might come along which is better than google. I can't think what but it should

    rus
  • OMG! (Score:5, Funny)

    by borgdows (599861) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @09:04AM (#6324630)
    Here is the results on GoogleFight :

    google is god = 157049 results
    google is evil = 204364 results

    Conclusion : Google is NOT God, Google is EVIL!! We are doomed!!
    • by Roofus (15591)
      Your logic is flawed - the two searches are not mutually exclusive. What if Google is an EVIL GOD?
      • Going to Google fights...

        Google is a good god ... 305 000 results
        Google is an evil god ... 90 600 results

        Whew! That was a close one.
    • by weston (16146)
      google is good = about 1,820,000 results
      google is a search engine = about 1,630,000 results
      google sucks = about 137,000 results
      google is Shiva = about 9,440 results
      google is a tuna fish sandwich = about 851

      Somewhat circular, but that aside, I think Google's nature is reasonably clear.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @09:04AM (#6324631) Homepage
    ...It's always interesting to see which of the science-fiction concepts of my youth have actually come to pass. Moon travel came to pass, but certainly not the way Heinlein or H. G. Wells or Jules Verne imagined it.

    In the sixties and early seventies, people were awed but poorly informed about computers. The commonest question that "lay" friends and relatives would ask me is "But what do you DO with a computer? Do you ask it questions?" That seemed bizarrely naive to me, and I would try to explain that it was more like playing with an electric train set, and that, outside of jokes, or Asimov's "Multivac" stories, you didn't "ask questions" of a computer.

    Well, Google may not be Multivac, but it sure is a lot more like Multivac than H. G. Well's space gun or Cavorite sphere is like Project Apollo. You don't normally phrase the questions as questions, and it doesn't provide interpretative, English-language "answers," but it certainly is an awesome and it may not be omniscient but it's an order of magnitude more "scient" than anything else I've seen.

    And, yes, it FINALLY looks as if "flat TV you can hang on a wall" is not only here, but I expect I'll be buying one within the next five years or so.

    No helicars or voice typewriters yet, though.

    (No, ViaVoice is NOT a good realization of the "voicewriter" fantasy. Oh, and for the record, to me, "Ask Jeeves" does NOT feel like Multivac at all, but Google does. I can't say why, that's just the way it strikes me.)
  • by gunix (547717)
    Yet another stupid reminder from the C programming language. Do they mean that Google has become God, or are they checking if they are the same?
  • There's no real similarity in theme--but "Google is God" did induce a random synaptic firing and brought up the title of an H. G. Wells story entitled "Jimmy Goggles the God." Yes, Goggles as in eyewear, not Google as in Barney Google.

    I said in another post that Google reminded me of Isaac Asimov's Multivac... but Google together with the Internet also reminds me of H. G. Well's _World Brain_. Except of course that Wells foresaw it as a dignified, high-minded intellectual enterprise, a modernized kind of F
  • by subreality (157447)
    Google makes ME be god. Many other system administrators will agree.

  • by LinuxParanoid (64467) * on Sunday June 29, 2003 @09:24AM (#6324705) Homepage Journal
    Three quickies:

    When people go around saying "Google is God", you know it's time to short their stock... oh shoot, they haven't even gone public yet!

    If Microsoft's upcoming squashes Google, does that mean Microsoft is the new god? Or is it Satan?

    And what does it tell you that despite its vastly superior powers, that nobody has equated Microsoft to God in the NY Times?

    Just reading the tea leaves,
    --LP
  • Friedman (Score:3, Insightful)

    by J.J. (27067) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @09:37AM (#6324743)
    It's not remarkable that this made it to the NYT op/ed pages. Anything written by Thomas Friedman is going to make it. What's remarkable is that he chose to write about it.

    Friedman has written three [amazon.com] books that generally focus on economics and globalization. He's won three [nytimes.com] Pulitzer prizes. A few of the other posts are knocking this article as fluff, or knocking Friedman in general. Whatever your personal views, people listen to him.

    What's striking to me is that he writes on large political-type issues - globalization, 9/11, Isreal. He's not a tech writer. The fact that he took the trouble to go tour Google and then write a column about it is evidence of how entrenched Google is in his non-techie world.

    Yeah, the article is fluff. It's nothing but Friedman's impression and opinions. But it ran on the print version of the New York Times. If it ran on CNet, I'd blow it off. In NYT's op/ed, it's another story.

    JJ
  • More to the point does Google have Buddha nature? If you say yes, then you are denying what it is. If you say no, then you do not have complete understanding.

    Master: "What does a sacred Chaos say?"

    Student: "Mu"

  • by StandardCell (589682) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @09:49AM (#6324781)
    Have you ever used the word "God?" Do you know what it really means? If not, is that ironic? Was Slashdot's "irony" [slashdot.org] really the cause of the utter collapse of civil society as we knew it? How ironic was it for Nietsche in Time magazine to declare God a victim of Nietsche's own nihilism process? The NY Times is running a brilliant article that muddles the confusion around a culturally critical and chronically misused word.

    (shaking head)
  • Google is not a god... it's only 2 3rds of it... loook

    Gods = Omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient.
    google = omnipresent (accessible anywhere)
    omniscient (knows every fraggin thing)
    but still not omnipotent :)

    when it starts creating global cathastrophes or ressurecting people, please warn me....

    (sorry for my bad english)
  • by A Commentor (459578) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @10:43AM (#6325005) Homepage
    Growing up I remember the quote "God knows the number of hairs on your head." I know that Google doesn't know the answer (I just searched to make sure). So that means that Google is NOT God.
  • God is like, real smart, so I bet if he needed to know something, he could think up a really good set of search terms and google it and find out without having to click to like the third page of results.
  • by LiberalApplication (570878) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @11:13AM (#6325146)
    I kid you not, this is an entirely true story.

    I awoke this morning from a dream where Google was powered by some ancient, evil, seductive force. Just as I often am in real life, in my dream I found myself curious about some random issue, and decided to research it via Google. In this instance, I was curious about what the lives of precious-stone-traders/exchangers were like, how they travelled, and how they moved their goods.

    When I opened a browser to http://www.google.com, I suddenly found myself transported to a dark room, one which felt, smelt, and looked as though it was within a long abandoned motel in a rainy, cold, climate. A grimy stone slab of roughly 4:3 dimensions lay on a table before me, glistening with condensation.

    A beautiful woman appeared, dressed seductively in red and black, and bade me to enter my query. Somehow, I knew to put my fingertip to the slab, and the moment I made contact, wispy shadows swirled out from within its crevices and surrounded my fingertip. They nipped at it, they pierced the skin, and with my blood, I scrawled out, "precious stone jewel exchange trader carrier lifestyle travel".

    The shadows at once covered my bloody query, writhed and congealed and when they finally withdrew, I found that the writing had been rearranged to read, "I'm feeling lucky". I screamed in terror and pounded on the message with my fists, sending dark red droplets flying from the stone.

    I looked up to see the woman smiling. When I returned my gaze to the stone slab, I saw the shadows slowly etching out a shape, simple, symmetrical. Trickles of black ran down the face of the stone from its far side, creating soft curves. It... it was a vase, with a notch in its base. It slowly filled with color, a light sort of beige, taking on a photographic quality and it was then that I realized... it wasn't a vase, it was a top-down view of some chick taking it up the ass.

  • God? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday June 29, 2003 @11:25AM (#6325201) Homepage Journal

    What a goofy term. The answer is necessarily yes and no at the same time because God means something different to everyone.

    To me, God is a name for entropy, the thing that makes life random, though only because we cannot detect and account for it in a meaningful fashion, in most cases. The devil is in the details, and it don't get any more detailed than entropy. Mind you, I think the Devil and God are just different sides of the same thing; entropy that hurts you, and entropy that works in your favor.

    Google is the opposite of entropy. It helps us bring order to chaos. It's a really good automatically generated index (while Yahoo and DMOZ and similar sites are tables of contents) and nothing more.

    Now if you want to get into a more metaphysical discussion, google helps make us more than we are because knowledge is power but only if you can get your hands on it and use it. Google puts more information at our fingertips. Someday when we're communicating with our computer implants via thought (or perhaps subvocalization, at least sooner than thought) it's going to be an indexing system (or several of them) that lets us make concise queries and get a relevant answer back, just as it is today, and that certainly seems godlike. Imagine being stuck in bumfuck nowhere and being able to just sort of ask the air what to do. Talk about talking to god. Of course, you're just accessing a network, but what is God anyway? Which just brings us back to how silly the name of the article is.

  • Reality Check (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @11:30AM (#6325212)
    Yahoo's search engine (powered by Google) gets more hits.

    AllTheWeb indexes more documents.

    Microsoft has decided to compete with Google.

    Yes Google is a cool search engine, but come on folks, you get the same top ten results from even the weakest sites.

  • Thomas Friedman has it right with his main point, that what others think of us, and the ability of others to communicate, matters more--put simply, as the six British soldiers found when they died by mob the other day, all the military might in the world is not going to matter when billions decide to overrun Europe from Africa, Russia from China, and the US from south of the border. Goggle is good and getting better, but here are two reasons why it is a bishop at best: 1) Google technical people (disclosur

  • Doesn't anyone remember a while back when you could search for "go to hell" and it would send you to microsoft.com?

    The top of this article about it [computerworld.com] says:

    Could Bill Gates really be the devil?

    maybe the NYT is on to something here.. :)

    -metric
  • Did Google have a beginning?
    Will Google some day end?
    Can Google create anything except web pages?
    Can Google give an answer to anything that man hasn't yet solved and or documented?
    Can Google stop all the freaking spam that I get, or at least tell them that my penis size is fine?
    Can Google turn the economy around so that most of my friend out of work can get a job?
    Can Google give me a version of Wine that runs well with RedHat 9 and ATI? Ahh I have an answer to that one... NO!!!!
  • Bah. C has corrupted me from understanding natural markup.. I did read it as 'assign God to Google' first.
  • by Everyman (197621) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @04:23PM (#6326638) Homepage
    A site at www.google-watch.org put up a cartoon about this that pretty much says it all.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden

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