A Google Limit

Many of us, especially millennials, are guilty of this. We Google everything. And by everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Symptoms of an illness? Phone number of a favorite Chinese takeout restaurant? Films a certain actor played in? Batting average of your favorite MLB player? Funny pickup lines? Lyrics to a song? Recipe for cheesecake? Movie theater times?

Google. Google. Google. Google. Google. Google. Google. And Google.

We depend on Google for EVERYTHING.

Look, I am not hating on our generation. With the unmistakable power of the internet and explosion of smart phones, using the Google machine is not just convenient, it is practical. I give my wife a hard time for her Google use but I am just as dependent. We are typical millennial Google users (or abusers?).

But just because something is practical, does it mean that it is beneficial for us as creative humans?

On Friday night, I pitched Sidney a crazy idea. I had the audacity to ask her if she would ever support a limit on one’s Google usage. She responded “no” but I proceeded to tell her how such a preposterous proposition would work…

My inspiration comes from online newspapers. If you read articles from periodicals online, you are most likely acquainted with a “paywall” system. Many major newspapers across the world allow online readers to consume a certain amount of content for free. Notice how I italicized the word “certain.” A particular newspaper, such as the New York Times, might let an online customer read five articles per month for free. Pretty nice, right? But if the reader tries to click on a link to read his/her sixth article of the month, a prompt will pop up.

You have reached your limit of free articles per month. Please subscribe for full access.

My big epiphany this past weekend was to place a limit on the number of Google searches a person can do per week.

In the spirit of not always taking a shortcut and for the sake of using other informational resources, I think a Google limit could help us become smarter human beings. If we were limited to, let’s say, 15 Google searches per week, we could expand our intellectual boundaries.

Knowing that many of us blow through 15 Google searches in a day, this new limit would force us to really scrutinize how we would use our weekly allotment. Perhaps we would opt for a phone book when ordering pizza. Maybe we would actually call the theater hotline for movie times. Or, who knows, hitting up a friend for a restaurant reference might come back in style as opposed to scouring online reviews.

Visits to the library would go up. Actual interactions with human beings would increase. Professional advice would be in higher demand. The act of actually experiencing life as opposed to taking Google’s word for it might make a comeback.

Google’s paywall would charge an exorbitant amount of money for 15 extra searches after the first 15 complimentary searches were used. That cash would go to charity. After 30 total weekly searches, an internet user would not be permitted to use Google until the start of the new week.

This proposal is a very rough pitch. I understand most people are thinking “I would just use another search engine.” But if there is a strong desire to throw the world of millennials for a loop while at the same time promoting intellectual creativity, a search engine limit might be the direction to head. Don’t Blink.

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