Google-y eyed

I’m thankful that I could type in the question “Can you substitute rum for bourbon?” in an online search engine and find an answer.

The answer is no, by the way.

I didn’t need this information; I was just doing my part yesterday to resolve a disagreement between co-workers. Tina had found a recipe for a bourbon cake that you heat in a crock pot. Jamie, hearing the phrase “bourbon cake” immediately requested that Tina make it. Tina, alas, doesn’t have any bourbon. Thinking about the alcohol she does have at home, she pondered aloud, “I wonder if I can substitute rum?”

Jamie had already emphatically answered, “No!” and offered to supply the needed liquor from her own stash when I volunteered to look it up. Moments later, I was able to convince Tina that Jamie doesn’t just have a bourbon fixation, she really knows that rum won’t work. Plus, I was able to inform them that you can substitute pineapple juice for rum.

I didn’t bother to look it up when they asked, “Why would you do that?”

Personally, neither cake with bourbon nor with rum appeals to me. Finding the answer to the question was more satisfying to me than a forkful of any dessert.

I’m of an age that I can remember when idle curiosity required a trip to the library. I had to hold in my who, what, when, where, whys and hows until I could get my hands on a reference book. While I have fond memories of thumbing through the card catalogs in search of answers, I have since fallen in the love with Googling.

Some people may complain about the glut of information online, much of it of doubtful accuracy. I would counter that I often ended up with books full of crap I couldn’t use after several hours of research among the stacks. At least online I realize more quickly that I have crap.

I know that the internet is not infallible. Just today a young man stopped in our office asking, “Is there a payphone around here?”

Once I recovered from the shock of the query (What is this payphone of which you speak?), I searched online for possible locations here in town. Unfortunately, I received only sponsored results that left me and the guy who asked as ignorant as before.

Despite these flaws, the next time I hear a sentence that begins with “How do you,” “What is a,” “Where is the” or “When does,” you can be certain that, if a computer is handy, I will Google for the answer.

***

What is that icon below? You can either Google “Yeah Write” or click on the link to find out more.

31 thoughts on “Google-y eyed

  1. My husband and I use Google all the time…but when he used my laptop once, he told me I was the only person whose auto-type function goes to “Goodreads” first instead of “Google”! Surely that can’t be true….

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  2. I do miss the days of The World Book Encyclopedia! But google is so damn handy and I learned something here (pineapple juice for rum because I don’t tend to like booze in my desserts, and no, bourbon wouldn’t work). I also haven’t used a payphone in years.

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  3. There’s something really satisfying about having easy access to information even if that information isn’t strictly necessary. Maybe it’s equalizer. Or give us a sense of control? I can’t quite put my finger on it. But hold up! I’ll just Google it…

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  4. I love google – for the same reason as you. If I have a question now, I don’t want to wait until I can go to the library sometime tomorrow. Plus I think up some really oddball questions and who’s to say the library would have the information I want?

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  5. I still love libraries and even encyclopedias, but I totally agree with you! It seems like I google stuff all day long, and it rarely lets me down – no matter how weird my question!

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  6. I was a *horrible* researcher in school; completely overwhelmed. (Don’t tell my dad; he was a librarian and the research desk was his favourite place to be!) I adore books and libraries, but, Google really is the best when it comes to getting information quickly. And it knows more than Siri.

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  7. Great post! I love google, but I’m also old enough to remember research that required a card catalog and the ability to find a book in a library. My favorite line is also, “At least online I realize more quickly that I have crap.”

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  8. The guy who asked about the payphone must have been listening to that Maroon 5 song… I honestly wonder how I survived without the internet. LIke, some things just weren’t possible. I think especially for people like independent musicians, the internet has been amazing. A friend once shared a CD with me that I loved and I copied it onto tape. When the tape died, I was so sad because I had no idea how to find that band again. A few years later, I was able to find them online (though they weren’t together) and buy their music. Without, I never would have been able to locate them–there’s no way THAT info is in a library. There is a ton of info, but I love the easy access!! Totally relate. πŸ™‚

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    1. I think you bring up a good point about the limits of the library. Of course, the librarians of today are getting tech-savvy enough to help patrons use the internet to answer questions that one could not research in the libraries of the past.

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