The future of the search tool, a new world?

The future of the search tool, a new world?

Such is the power and prevalence of modern search tools that new parents are shunning the name “Alexa” for fear that it will appear a deranged homage to Amazon’s Alexa, or worse- alert Alexa to action every time they call their offspring by name. While it does seem a little loopy that search has invaded every orifice of modern living, this isn’t the first example of search tools’ occupying space in our daily lives. The verb “to google” was added to the dictionary in 2007 following pop-culture references in American TV show, Buffy. More pervasive however than fleeting 90’s stardom, the Google zeitgeist has enjoyed a long-term monopoly over our collective consciousness.

Thanks to the quality results returned by modern search tools, alongside the anonymity of the platform, Google quickly took on a more intimate role in our private lives. A quick search in Google for “Should I…” throws up a range of strange and intimate suggested search fields: from questions of marital harmony and changing career, to Clash lyrics and meditating on the merits of shaving your head, Google has bundled together all aspects of the human experience in a neat and highly intuitive algorithm. Whilst Google maintains that the verb To Google should be used only in relation to their products, the act of Googling has become a catch-all verb for our desire for answers. Interchangeable with “I’ll look that up”, “googling” sates our desire for fast results and a lexical proclivity for efficiency.

Google is often the first stop for every thought we daren’t vocalise, and a port in the storm for our most grave and bizarre worries. Despite beginning life as a search engine, designed to transport the user, Google’s search results create the destination itself. No longer relying on the user to know what they want, Google nourishes a speculative kind of curiosity; Google holds the keys to our most intimate self, playing surrogate doctor, agony aunt, therapist, financial advisor- before we’ve even asked the question.

Interesting? Definite

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About the author:
Catherine is one of the Future of Law's digital editors. She graduated from Durham University with a degree in English Literature and worked at a barristers chambers before joining Lexis Nexis.