Google to world: Here's how predictable you really are

Could it be that Google has pretty much seen everything before? Well, the company has a revelation.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

Seen it all, done it all?

Image: Getty Images

We're all different.

Well, we like to think we are.

Our minds work differently. We're not as predictable as everyone else. We're unique.

Or are we? 

I only ask as I was arrested by a casual comment made by a VP of engineering at Google, Rajan Patel.

Feeling the need to emit a fun fact -- and where better to emit fun facts than Twitter? -- Patel offered: "Fun fact. 15% of the searches we see every day have never been Googled before."

I found myself embraced by several competing emotions.

First, there were chills that Google looks at every search you make and every question baking in your mind.

Then there was the indecision about whether 15% was a lot or a little.

My first instinct was to conclude that 85% of all humanity's questions have concerned some other human previously. If only you could instantly connect with that other human, to share your reasons for wanting an answer to this particular question.

Next, I began to think of Google as an annoying Jeopardy contestant. The sort that knows the answer to most things, yet you know they live a troubled and lonely life and likely drink too much Coca-Cola.

But finally, there was the sadness that a mere 15% of our queries are original. And how many of those are merely typos of one kind or another? Or merely references to some new band/singer/app/dance/meme?

Indeed, despite ending her riposte with a smiley face, I couldn't help but feel serious solidarity with Dr. Darmina Jivani (Patel).

She translated: "People of world have 15% unique curiosity left after passing through schools, colleges and societies that expect everyone to be same if they want to survive:)."

There is something about a systematized life that squeezes curiosity out of you and replaces it with a limited menu of fascination.

When you eat the same movies, books, video games, and music, your digestive system becomes regimented. Your need for knowledge becomes, as Google suggests, homogenized.

I've often feared that humans are the most dangerous sort of species because they think they're clever.

So perhaps Google might offer prizes to those who concoct searches that the company's machines have never seen before.

Think of the sheer sense of reward if you manage to expand human curiosity.

I tried to create an original search, just out of curiosity.

I typed: "Are porpoises crimson."

Google's search box was desperate for the question to be: "Are porpoises crimson tide."

Is there something about the University of Alabama that we should know -- and that Google knows already?

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