Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2006 Issue

"A" is for Amazon!



If you go a little deeper, you can get some very strange answers. For example, I typed in "23," and one of the answers was "23 p of c in the h b." What on earth does that mean? Google says 2,730,000 people searched for that phrase. I'm guessing it's some rap lyrics or secret code, but I don't know. My kids are in school now so I can't ask.

What does all of this say about us, our times, our culture? There must be some key insights hidden within this alphabet soup, but I haven't figured it out. I'll leave that to the sociologists. If we had done this a hundred years ago, we might still have found love and flowers, but we certainly wouldn't have been searching for http or xml, not eBay, Yahoo, ringtones or zip codes. Of the eight company names (maybe 9 if "virgin" refers primarily to Richard Branson's various "Virgin" companies), the oldest must be UPS, perhaps a few decades old. Where is Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, General Motors, A.T. & T., General Electric, Union Pacific, even I.B.M? The world has changed since I was young. Youth is having its way.

Go to Google Suggest to try it for yourself.

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