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A Cold, Hard, Google-less World
Need to know how many stacked pennies it would take to reach the moon? Want to know about the latest visual effects technology used to make Star Wars? Need to know if George Washington really had dentures made out of wood?
• It would take a stack of 240 billion pennies to reach the moon!
• Star Wars special effects—Check out this cool link for a peek at how the latest computer graphics (CG) were used to pull off the stunning visuals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obwG9k6x2us
• Was George Washington’s wooden smile made from wooden teeth? NO. His false teeth were actually made of bone, ivory, and sometimes other humans’ teeth.
Imagine you can’t google the answers because—well, Google hasn’t been invented yet.
You have two choices. You can sit there on your couch, swallow your curiosity like a bitter pill, and live with not knowing.
Or you can get your parents to drive you to the library. Fingers crossed, the answers you need are somewhere in the pages of a book that’s somewhere on their bookshelves.
But wait a minute. What if your parents don’t know how to get to the library? You’ll have to consult a paper map.
WARNING! Unless you are an origami dynamo, once you unfold a map, it might never be refolded correctly. Never. Don’t even try.
Still can’t find it?
It may come down to this: You have to use a paper phone book to look up the library’s phone number. Then, pick up your home phone (the kind that’s wired to a wall), wait for a real, live human being to answer, and then ask for directions. Yikes!
It’s hard to believe, but that was life without Google. Getting information was difficult and took a lot of work.
Horrified? The two guys who thought up Google were just as freaked out as you are. This was the world they grew up in, back in the 1970s and 1980s. And even as kids, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin knew they wanted to change the world.
When Larry and Sergey were born in 1973, technology was in a very different place than it is today. In most homes, telephones were attached to walls and could only be used to make phone calls. No texts, no news, no maps—just phone calls. Hope was coming. That year, the first-ever cell phone call was made. But these cell phones were huge, like talking into a brick. Plus, the battery life was around twenty minutes. And then there was the price tag: $3,995! In today’s dollars? That would set you back more than $22,000.
Oh, and about your TV. If you needed to change the channel, you had to get up and physically turn a dial on your TV set, unless you were one of the lucky ones who had a pricey remote control!
Computers had been something used mostly by scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in research and academic settings. They were physically huge and could take up an entire desk or even a whole room. But this last thing was about to change—just in time to inspire Larry’s and Sergey’s love of technology.
But it wouldn’t be easy. Larry and Sergey were born on opposites sides of the planet. And when their paths finally crossed, they didn’t even like each other.
It’s a wonder Google ever happened at all.
Copyright © 2018 by Anna Crowley Redding