Over the past few years there is a two word phrase that has been introduced into our every day dialect. These two words provide the answer to a lot of questions. “How to potty train a two-year old?” “What concerts are coming up in summer?”, “Can I lose 10lbs in 4 days?”, “How to take a beetroot stain off white shirt?” There is one answer that fits all of these questions and it’s, “Google it”.
Google has become the invaluable tool that makes everyday life so much easier, every piece of worthwhile and useless information available at the click of a button. A good broadband connection and the will to sift through piles of inaccurate information will deliver the answer to every kind of question your ever wondered. Being an avid advocate of Google myself, I find over the years I have become completely dependent on the search engine for direction. The beauty of sourcing information through Google is that you can pick and choose the information you wish to take on board, so whatever doesn’t suit your palate you just bypass and click on to the next listing. Hours and hours spent Googling everyday trivia and unimportant tidbits, designer shoes and handbags and as the hours pass, taking the tone a little lower to Googling an ex-classmate or old boyfriend (literally) before finally hitting rock bottom and Googling your own name. All this covered up by the public admission, “Yes I use the internet, just to check my email and my online banking”, yeah right.
This has turned to be an unfortunate dependency now that I’m living in Abu Dhabi, given that the chances of finding a business, service or restaurant in Abu Dhabi that has an up to date online presence is almost nil. A fact that became abundantly clear to me when recently looking for a Dentist in Abu Dhabi. Blind optimism and force of habit turned me to the keyboard and before I knew it, I had typed the words “dentist Abu Dhabi” into the Google search page. The response wasn’t exactly, “Are you flippin’ serious” but it was close, two listings on a free listing website and 45 pages of comments about Dentists in Abu Dhabi on various forums. Taking the first listing, I Googled the directions to “Brite Smiles Dental Centre” on Al Salem Street and set out on the 45 minutes trek across the city. An hour and a half later, having followed the out of date Google earth map on my iphone, I pulled up outside the centre. Beneath the faded Brite Smiles sign was another sign, Al Jaber Tailoring Service, on enquiry inside I was told that the dental clinic had moved to Delma Street three years ago. I keyed in Delma Street but the connection was down, so it was home again without a scale and polish.
Desperate, I decided to take drastic measures. I would ask someone face to face about the whereabouts of a dental practice, brace myself for a longwinded response, grit my teeth through an irrelevant anecdote and filter out the rest of the faff and just take the directions, I would suffer the counter-enquiry later, “How did you get on with my Dentist?” , “Did you get an appointment easily?”, “How much did she charge?”, “Did you find him good?” I would have to suffer the conversation if wanted to give my pearly whites a once over.
Despite all preparations, I chickened out. I simply couldn’t stomach spending a precious fifteen minutes of my life discussing dentists in Abu Dhabi. I decided to dodge the conversation and send a text message instead, another wonderful invention which limits a reply to one hundred and twenty characters. I choose the recipient carefully and deftly thumbed the message, “Hi, meant to ask, can you recommend a dentist nearby? Three minutes later the signal came, beep beep, beep beep, the reply was in, “sors don’t have one yet, why not Google it” , So much for extending the hand of neighbourliness, what happened to word of mouth, g a helping hand, a personal recommendation? Is Google making us anti-social? Are we over dependent on Google? What would happen if Google broke down or stopped or ceased to exist? So many questions and the only one to ask is Google?! In the meantime I’ll continue to drive around Abu Dhabi looking for Brite Smiles.