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Does anyone else wonder at the amount of analogies that Google attracts? It's a bit strange. I think of us as company that organizes information and helps people find that info. But it's a bit weird to see companies say that they are the "Google of X." I've seen the "Google of audio and video"; one company wanted to be the "Google of eBay," and I've even seen a company that claimed the mantle of the "Google of Homeland Security." Anybody else seen things like this? What's the weirdest one you've run across?
"The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48"
Omniscient Om*nis"cient, a. Omni- + L. sciens, -entis, p. pr.
of scire to know: cf. F. omniscient. See Science.
Having universal knowledge; knowing all things; infinitely
knowing or wise; as, the omniscient God. --
For what can scape the eye
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
Wouldn't you want to be associated with Wired Magazine's only privately held company ever to make it to their top 40 companies to watch? And a number 1 at that...
Google is like the omnipresent techno God of the new millennium.
You should put it in your signature as a gag Googleguy. Err wait, no signatures here.... nm.
seindal has the best explanation so far:
think its because Google "knows" everything. If your need something, you ask Google. Google knows. Google is the close to being omniscient. In that sense it is god-like.
Google is a great search engine, but it ain't even a little bit "godlike" in my book..
No, no. That won't be appropriate until one of your geeks launches a forgiveness-of-sins tool in the Labs. :)
Seriously, I remember several years ago when Amazon was just a bookseller seeing lots of references from other retailers who aimed to be "the Amazon of such-and-such."
That's just what happens when you get big, ubiquitous, and good.
It may be from the inside looking out but people don't see the computers, the engineers and the resources. They just see a need fulfilled time and time again, a "friend" that almost never lets them down. When you reach a level of use that nearly everyone relies on the same "friend" you move into a different space.
A few years ago my home town football [the mans game version] team were struggling. The star striker, Mr Stanley Collimore, had been injured for a while but was back on the bench for this game. The game wasn't going our way when mid-way through the second half Stan rose from the bench to enter the fray. Neither before or since have I experienced anything like it, almost 30,000 people collectively placed their hopes and dreams on the shoulders of one man. Almost as soon as he came on a ball was sent over the top, Stan was on it like a flash and with his first touch fired the ball into the back of the net.
At that moment Stan was the Google of footballers.
A few mins later he tangled with their right back, chinned him and got sent off, but don't let that ruin the analogy
>I think of us as company that organizes information and helps people find that info.
I think you underestimate how important that information may be to the person seeking it
dougb, I think all the analogies are often a bad idea myself--and they mostly come from outside Google. Google is a great search engine, but it ain't even a little bit "godlike" in my book..
GG, I know you don't think that, and I do respect your work very much. But at some level, since the answers were very predictable, I think you've posed this particular question in order to bask in more of the adulation that you're used to. Too much of this can have bad consequences [mythology.com]. (Link via Google :))
i think the vast majority of the world has no idea how google works
I got twisted up with an analogy in a thread on branding the other day by thinking of properties such as Google or Yahoo from a user's perspective. I looked at them as not having specific functions (search, directory), but as places you go to find a whole heck of a lot of different stuff.
Again, that's from a user's perspective. These are the places you go to find anything and everything that's on the Internet that concerns everything and anything that matters in today's world. You've heard the phrases: "I found it on Google," or "I found it on Yahoo," and, possibly the only correct one, "I found it on Amazon." Many users do think that the pages Google and other SEs lead them to are actually part of those properties.
See how expansive your universe is to us common folk?
Google is my cookbook.
Google is my dictionary.
Google is my cheat sheet.
Google is my encyclopedia.
Google (not Froogle) is my shopping mall.
Google is often my paycheck and
Google is my ADVANTAGE!
Yahoo is the Google of portals (and thus, my homepage and entrance to Google).
In answer to the question in title, I would say Google is a candidate for so many analogies because Google has become a paradigm exemplar of the web. Combined with our (western culture's) affinity for overstatement and emphasis, 'Google' just naturally becomes the emphatic representation of the whole web. Google itself is subject to analogy in the same way -- "Google is the Swiss Army knife of the web," the "MacDonald's of modern computing."
So, Google may either take it as a compliment that so many people hold Google in high regard, or they make worry that so many stupid people with low self-esteem hold Google in high regard.
Me, well, I'll try to remember never to use Google in an analogy, lest I be hoisted by my own petard.
If people start saying that Google is the Microsoft of search engines, it's time to panic.
dougb, I may have unconsciously have been doing something like that, but it certainly wasn't deliberate. Someone sent me the link to that "don't treat God like a search engine" article and it just struck me as very strange. I asked myself who could appreciate the strangeness with me and immediately came up with WebmasterWorld. :)
I see; well, forgive me for jumping on you -- I can get a little carried away crying foul as I've generally had an emotionally painful history dealing with Google in various capacities. I do think humility is very important, and it's not everywhere that I think it needs to be (or seems to be, to many observers) within your company.
To get back to your question, I think the reason for analogies to Google is pretty straightforward -- Google's currently the best at what it does. Using it in an analogy is a nice shorthand for all the good things (usually) that implies. People talk about the "Ebay of" and "Oracle of" and "Microsoft of" new products and services too, for the same reason. I think these comparisons are usually intended in an emotionless, businessy way, and have little to do with spirituality.
I've heard Enron and ClearChannel used the same way, but for very negative purposes. Don't let that become true of Google!