Searching for Google’s Logic

When we search on Google, we think that we are searching for ourselves, but we are actually searching for Google!

Google makes up to $1,000 each time we click on a sponsored ad in their search results: that’s not bad for a fraction of a second’s work – that is why Google is worth almost two trillion dollars today.

The problem with Google is that a lot of people are no better off today than circa 2000, which is approximately when it became the most popular search engine.

We think of using Google as often as we have a question, and our brains become more reliant on this association every year.

I’ve been using Google for around twenty years and over time realized that the most meaningful things in life could not be found on Google.

To trust Google and see where their searches lead, I looked at one of their most popular products, Google Photos, which is used by over 1 billion people globally.

It is a common belief that some of the brightest minds in the world work at Google, a data-driven company. With over 150,000 employees world-wide and hundreds who work specifically on Google Photos, the problem of missing data must have been brought up multiple times in meetings.

The problem, however, is crystal clear, applies to a large percentage of users, and is not that hard to solve (at least for me). If a person was born before 2000, a percentage of their timeline is automatically missing because there is no direct way to add this non-digital data to Google Photos.

Percentage missing by birth year
  • 1990: ~30% missing
  • 1980 : ~50% missing
  • 1970: ~60% missing
  • 1960: ~65% missing

There is a strong correlation between what we are looking for and this missing data, and two decades later Google is still searching for answers.

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