Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{December 11, 2008}   Googling Google

Am I the only on who finds it odd that “Google” was one of the top ten words searched for in Google in Canada in 2008.

Who the hell is Googling “Google”?  I mean, if you are ALREADY ON THE GOOGLE WEBSITE, why do you have to search for it?  I mean, sure, it’s hard to remember that Google can be found at (or .com… as if you mistakenly type “” and you are in Canada, it will automatically switch it to .ca for you).  Such a difficult URL to remember.  But you are ALREADY ON THE GOOGLE WEBSITE!!  And it’s not just like a few randoms were doing this.  It was in the top ten searches conducted this year.

This is what I imagine an individual’s thought process is when this happens:  “Man, I sure would like to search for information about Sarah Palin.  I wonder how I can find such information?  Hmm, I hear that Google is an excellent search engine and can surely direct me to photos of Sarah Palin in a star-spangled bikini, but the Google URL is so hard to remember! I know, I’ll Google it!”

Also funny: another one of the words in top ten list of words searched in Google in 2008 – Yahoo.


Kelly says:

It could be that people are Googling Google from their Google toolbar, which doesn’t necessarily mean they were on the Google web site to begin with… Maybe?

I do Google gmail from the toolbar, even though it’s an easy URL to remember…

Beth says:

But even if they are Googling from their Google toolbar (which I do all the time too), why do they need to find the Google website – they can just use the Google toolbar to do whatever Google search they want to do?

Jeff says:

It is people either a) not knowing the difference between a google search toolbar and an address bar or b) people using the google search toolbar instead of using the address bar for convenience.

Rod says:

The scary thing is, they also list Facebook and YouTube among the most popular searches in Canada. Which would lead me to believe that a lot of these people don’t ever enter or into their browser’s address bar – they just search for it on Google and click on the first link that comes up.

Keep in mind that many, if not most, computer users see no distinction between the address bar and the search field in a browser, whether from the Google toolbar or the built-in search fields in Safari or Firefox. My in-laws, for instance, still don’t really grok the difference between the browser application, a website for Yahoo or Google, the Internet, and the Mac desktop. All of them are just part of using the computer.

And they’ve been using a computer daily for nearly a decade.

So you can type “google” or “yahoo” or “facebook” into the address bar, and the browser will convert it into,, or Or you can type the same things into the search field and get to the same place.

I suspect not many people actually type “google” at the Google website, but they might. Regardless, if the same action yields the correct result no matter where you type it, why change your behaviour? For techie types like us, the intellectual distinction between typing an address and searching means something, but for most people, it doesn’t.

Actually, I think that is Google’s great success: its search results are so good most of the time that it’s at least as effective to search, if not more so, than to go directly to an address you already know.

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