Thursday, October 28, 2004

Google for President !

By Amit Patel

I want to take a break for a moment from all the high-intensity headlines, campaign rhetoric, poll data and - ah yes - talking-head election analysis to look at something slightly different.

Last Monday, when I opened up The Daily , a pamphlet insert fell out with the letters "GLAT" prominently emblazoned across its center. GLAT? Google Labs Aptitude Test, it said underneath. I laughed like a giggling freshman throwing paper at Flicks.

The GLAT was composed of witty questions like "write a haiku describing possible methods for predicting search-traffic seasonality." The whole thing looked like a joke. Except, it came from Google, where everything - from banner animations to press releases - exudes a sense of humor unparalleled in the corporate world.

In the midst of so much political drama and international turmoil, I can't recall the last time I picked up a newspaper and laughed. Then I got to thinking...What if we elected Google to run this country? A refreshing departure, perhaps. Here's what we could expect. If Google was made US Prez ...

1) A Google presidency - like the homepage - would be modest in appearance but very powerful in capability. We wouldn't have to worry about it making boisterous claims about its performance or exaggerating intelligence about weapons of mass destruction.

2) Desktop search would be used to track down terrorists. Sifting through millions of pages of intelligence would be much easier as a result.
And Cat Stevens wouldn't get arrested again.

3) Before "going public" with a decision, the Google administration would conduct an interview with Playboy first. That'd be more interesting than President George W. Bush's recent interview with Bill O'Reilly, who apparently likes the same things as Playboy.

4) Google has already won the hearts and minds of people all over the world. It's available in 35 languages, and its search engine even sits on Al-Jazeera's homepage. It also has a type-and-translate application. That means it can pronounce "Abu Ghraib."

5) The "Google Local" program would also promote the growth of small businesses. Over 150,000 companies advertise with Google. Thankfully, Enron and Halliburton are not two of them.

6) Citizens would quit raising a fuss about the Patriot Act, because they would graciously cede their privacy rights to Google without thinking twice about its invasive methods, so long as they're in preliminary beta format.

7) Google's "Don't be evil" motto is a more pleasant and wittier alternative to the trite "axis of evil" and "evildoer" rhetoric that convinces us we're all about to die.

8) There would be no spin or slowness when responding to questions. Google would offer quick answers to any journalistic query in about .29 seconds.

9) Because it lets its engineers take time to develop their own projects, Google would devise creative and innovative solutions to many of our nation's problems. Digging for oil in Alaska probably wouldn't be one of them.

10) Finally, Google is run by techies. As a fuzzy, I'll admit that our record of presidents - former lawyers, actors, peanut farmers and failed businessman - is partially responsible for much of what Henry Kissinger describes as a 100 years of failed foreign policy.

Geeks, nerds and a White House that runs like the Googleplex will prove better scenery than Rove-ian receding hairlines and soapboxes used by preachy social conservatives.

Google may not be perfect, but its actions are transparent, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. Its company attitude and ethics would serve as a refreshing contrast to the culture of corporate malfeasance and profit-maximizing bottom lines that has seeped into political decision-making.Most of all, a Google presidency would do what our government badly needs to do: restore the public's trust.

Amit Patel is a student at Stanford, CA
I was just browsing around and found this link:
The different spellings used by people when searching for Britney Spears on Google (Google corrected these spellings have on each occasion).


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