Sunday, June 29, 2014

Google Comes to Havana!

Google Comes to Havana! / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
Posted on June 28, 2014

Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 28 June 2014 – Have you ever tried to explain
Google to someone who doesn't know what it is? This happened to me a few
days ago with a neighbor girl, barely 10, who asked me, "What's a search
engine?" I didn't want to get deep into technology so I didn't tell her
anything about the algorithm these services use to organize information,
nor did I talk about the "spiders" that travel the entire web to search
sites, and much less of the race for positions on their lists, which
obsesses so many. Instead, I explained it to her with a reference she
could understand: "Google is like the magic mirror in fairy tales. You
can ask it what you want and it will give you thousands of possible

Last night, Google knocked on our door. This isn't a metaphor, the
searcher came to find us. There were several representatives of the most
popular of the search engines, peering into our lives and work. Faced
with them, we couldn't resort to so-called text tags, "keywords" and
strict page ranks. These were human being, giving big hugs, laughing and
curiously exploring the home of our technological inventions and our
hairless dog. Jared Cohen, Brett Perlmutter and Dan Keyserling
cheerfully climbed to the fourteenth floor of our building and shared
with us our journalistic endeavor lacking in Internet, but with a strong
commitment to today's Cuban reality.

I asked if they had connected to the web from any public place. "Slow,
very slow"… they explained. Then we started talking about the future,
their commitment to Cuban internauts, and the relief of knowing they
were aware of the information difficulties we are facing on the island.
Before that we had talked with Eric Schmidt and understood that
something of the sharpness of his eyes and the certainty of his words
could already be guessed in the simple wisdom of Google's homepage.

It was a technological night without technology. No one took out their
cellphones to check the web – it's not possible in Cuba – and it didn't
occur to anyone to show us the latest doodle, nor to tell us in figures
the scale of the company in which they work. We had the immense good
fortune of standing in front of the magic mirror, but we didn't ask
questions nor did we want answers, we just described who we are and
where we are going.

Source: Google Comes to Havana! / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez | Translating
Cuba -

No comments:

Post a Comment