Yes it’s true, everyone is striving to make it to the top; the top of Google that is. This multinational internet search engine is known to process over one billion search requests each day and has been estimated to run over one million servers in data centres worldwide! It only makes sense to want to be the first candidate to pop up and be revealed to curious browsers and potential clients. But this highly used tool is a relatively new phenomenon that has taken hold of our culture since the late 90’s.
This search engine goliath was originally called ‘BackRub’ by its creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1996 and changed to Google a year later. The name itself is derived from the mathematical term “googol” which stands for the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros suggesting the grand scale of information encompassment this company strives for.
Following the creation of Google, came a gold rush of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr etc., giving a personal voice to the internet and ability to easily gather and share information globally.
Take it back a couple decades to a time when Google and Facebook didn’t exist in our vocabulary. To a time when you couldn’t just Google the answer to a random query or know what 100 of your closest friends are eating for lunch. Really take a minute and think about how social interaction, education and business development has transformed in such a short time- and is constantly progressing!
For example there are currently a growing number of online schools/universities, not to mention mandatory computer classes in schools as well as the option to major in Computer Science/ Engineering. Successful business plans now consist of social media campaigns and tactics to battle the fierce competition to reach the top spot in Google searches. The ‘average Joe’ or unheard of start-up now has the ability to be truly discovered and be heard.
One prominent example of this newfound social power was demonstrated with the role of Facebook in the Egyptian revolution. The social media site provided an accessible communication platform where ideas could be freely shared amongst the citizens solidifying a unity and eventual communal uprising.
It may seem extreme to use aiding a revolution as an example but it thoroughly demonstrates the fact that we are living in time where ideas and images can be spread with incredible ease amongst global and local communities.
A lighter example can be seen in the rise of viral superstars such as Rebecca Black who ranked number 1 in Google’s fastest rising searches of 2011 and had over 167 million views or her music video “Friday” giving her instant fame. Google and social media platforms have also soaked into the corporate world proving time and time again a synchronized rise of profit with the rise in rank on Google searches and successful implementation of social media campaigns.
It’s hard not to get excited at the potential the internet provides individuals, businesses and communities. It’s time to embrace the present way of communication and information gathering, optimise it and look forward to what exciting tools the future will hold.18 January 2012