Once upon a time, it was possible to spend an entire day without reaching for technology of some sort. Once upon a time, I could sit, perfectly happy with just a book or a pen and notebook in my hand, instead of my fingers twitching irritably like they do now, if the battery was getting low on my tablet, phone or laptop.
Once upon a time, I wouldn’t care what product I was using; any map, any search engine, any email provider. But I was enticed in; first with the simplicity of finding things, then by imaginative doodles. An email account where I wasn’t bombarded with spam (looking at you, hotmail), Scholar became a firm friend when I was studying, and then all of a sudden, all the things started talking to each other and making my life easier.
I could personalise my news so I’d get less politics, more Supernatural (…). My maps knew where my home was even when I didn’t. I could search for something on my phone, and continue the search on my laptop because the words were already typed there for me. Sign in to multple things without having to remember all of my passwords, store all of my stuff online, collaborate with anyone in the world on writing, spreadsheets, and all sorts of other things.
Google remembered the things I like, the websites I frequent, suggested the words I was using to search with what felt like before they formed in my own mind. And though I knew it was intrusive, whispering suggestions at me and luring me in with pretty functionality, I fell for it, hook, line and sinker.
Now, for someone who has long scorned the people who have an incessant need to queue outside Apple stores to get the latest phone, will only use iPods, Pads and iOs, the very recent realisation that I, too, have inadvertently become dependant on a particular name, is kind of unsettling. Try as I might, I keep returning to Google. In fact, when my laptop very recently decided to stop charging, I ended up buying a Chromebook, which is what I’m typing at you on now.
I have become a Googler, and I don’t know how I feel about it. Is there any hope for me? Do I get myself a happy ever, after or am I now a slave to Google, destined to rave about its services then rage at myself for it?