You may have heard my stifled scream on Sunday morning, and for that I apologize. No need to panic, as it turns out. Order has been restored in the most benign way possible: turn off the machine, restart and try again. All is well again.
What was the problem?
I know, right?
Being the ever resourceful tech genius that I am, I found a tired icon on my laptop's desktop for Microsoft Edge. Cautiously, I opened it to see if there was still an Internet. Feeling reassured about that experiment, I was still worried that some sort of Thanos Snap might have disintegrated half the web browsers in the universe. Stopping first to check my email, and finding it visible through what used to be Explorer, I proceeded to my next most logical alternative. Restart.
I held my breath for a moment or two as I waited for my computer to shake off the cobwebs and bring me back to what I hoped was the land of all that is good and Googly. I reflected briefly on the conversation I had with the daughter of a friend of ours. She wondered aloud why the home assistant was called "Google" instead of something more clever and lyrical like Siri or Alexa. I reminded her that by keeping the name branded, it allowed us all to speak the company's name several hundred more times each day and thus creating neural pathways that would be most certainly hardwired. This sent another wave of panic through me: What if our home assistant had failed as well? Would I have to turn on lights and appliances myself? Touching buttons and switches has become so very antiquated. Hurry up and boot, computer.
As I typed in my user name and password, I continued to hope for the best as my reflection continued. There was a time not long ago when I used to teach my students to use search engines as if it were some sort of level playing field, before google became a verb. Before Google got us all using docs and Chromebooks and forgetting a world of Bing and Ask Jeeves and DuckDuckGo. A time that included Netscape and Firefox. But this was all crazy fear talking. There would be Google again. There had to be.
The words you are currently reading are brought to you by the friendly faceless monolith with the cute doodles. Even before I started making my incessant entries into this cyber-salon, Google had gobbled this little corner of Al Gore's Internet. Like they have so many other avenues and on-ramps on the information superhighway. So I want to thank you all for hanging on while I sorted this all out, and hopefully something that terrifying will never happen again.