Monday, March 11, 2013

A is for Amazon

As I typed in a search term today, I watched Google fill in the phrase for me, trying as it always does to anticipate my every thought.   Google knows where I live, and knows some of my search history.   Its great thrumming warehouse-banks of processors and complex algorithms carefully optimize every return, endeavoring to maximize the likelihood of getting me where it thinks I want to go.

But Google does not know me, not really, because my thought as I typed suddenly became:  If I took Google's suggestions on the first letter of my search and made an alphabet book for children, what would it look like?   

What would that say about Google?   What would that say about our humanity in the internet age?

And so I went through the alphabet, letter by letter. 

A is for Amazon, AOL, Apple, and Amtrak
B is for Bank of America, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, and Bed Bath and Beyond
C is for Craigslist, CNN, and Costco
D is for dictionary, Dominos and Drudge
E is for eBay, ESPN, Expedia, and etsy
F is for Facebook, Fandango, and Fox News
G is for Google, Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Translate
H is for Hotmail, Home Depot, Hulu, and HHGregg
I is for Instagram, IMDB, Ikea, and iTunes
J is for Jetblue, JCPenney, J Crew, and Jennifer Lawrence
K is for Kayak, Kohls, and KMart
L is for Linkedin, Lowes, Les Miserables, and Living Social
M is for Mapquest, Macy's, MSN, and Maps
N is for Netflix, NFL, Nordstrom, and news
O is for OPM, Old Navy, Overstock, and Orbitz
P is for Pandora, Pinterest, Papa Johns, and Paypal
Q is for QVC, Quotes, Quizlet, and Quentin Tarantino
R is for Redbox, Ray Lewis, Redskins, and Rotten Tomatoes
S is for Southwest, Sears, Skype, and Sprint
T is for Target, Twitter, Translate, and Thesaurus
U is for USPS, UPS, United Airlines, and US Airways
V is for Verizon, Verizon Fios, Verizon.net, and Verizon Wireless
W is for Walmart, Weather, Wells Fargo, and Washington Post
X is for XBox, xFinity, Xbox Live, and X Factor
Y is for Youtube, Yahoo, Yahoo mail, and Youtube to mp3
Z is for Zillow, Zappos, Zero Dark Thirty, and Zara

Your results would vary, I'm sure.   But what a terrible, terrible alphabet book that would make.  It's the sort of alphabet book you might find in an Aldous Huxley dystopia, a classroom full of dutiful little Betas chanting it in unison.  It's the kind of alphabet book you'd find in a preschool in Hell.  

All except "J is for Jennifer Lawrence."  Such a sweetheart, she is.  

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