Google: FBI Questionable Search Histories of Writers

Quite possibly the world greatest search engine makes perfect sane(ish) writers look like questionable criminals. Let’s talk about it!

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Google search web page with animated pens and notebooks

Google has been the go-to search engine since its public debut in 2004. So much so that its name is synonymous with the action. Need answers to a tricky crossword clue? Google it. Need to know where something is located? Google it. Need to know how long it takes for a 140-pound man to bleed out from a knife knick to the carotid? Google it. And….that’s where writers’ research histories might make Big Brother raise some red flags. Don’t worry; just make sure to include enough coffee, pen and notebook, and animal sidekick searches in there, too, and they’ll get the hint. At least, I hope so. Let’s discuss.

How Google Dominated

First, a brief history. When Google came on the scene, there were certainly other well-established search engines. I remember AskJeeves, Yahoo, AltaVista, and a few others. However, Google launched, and I’ve never used another. Not even Bing when it was released five years later. Google’s developers knew what they were doing. They gave their users what they wanted: a clean window, quick links to accurate search results, and a ranking system for those results that kept the searcher from having to delve further through the sludge of internet results. Which in turn meant fewer and fewer searcher were clicking on page two of their results list.

Twitter post about writing and search engines causing the FBI to be pinged.

The World’s Information At Your Fingertips

The search engine of writer’s dreams arrived, and they’ve never looked back. From historical accuracy searches to anatomy lessons and police procedures, writers have been able to easily access a plethora of information to make their craft more accurate. This meant we didn’t have to go out into the world and ask these questions in public and could avoid the telltale side eye that might be thrown our way depending on the question.

Twitter post listing things writers google.

While I’m old enough to remember a time before the internet — just barely — I’m definitely old enough to remember a time before Google. I was halfway through high school when it launched and thought, this is it. I can know anything now. I was writing fantasy short stories at that time, and the ease of seeking answers to questions about mythological creatures and established magical lore was fascinating. And I always turned into a search spiral of excess information until I would end up somewhere I definitely had not started. Nothing’s really changed, though, so…

Are they really monitoring, though?

According to Google…haha, see what I did there… According to Google, the FBI does not actively monitor the searches. The Patriot Act allows the government to request information from companies like Google, but they have to have legal permission to do so. If you want a good laugh and to start a new search spiral, check out this Reddit post where a user asks about a search ping.

list of google search questions.

Keep on Searching

Regardless of whether they’re monitoring, continue with the research and let the trusty and sometimes hilarious Google search results guide you as you complete your writing project. If you ever do get a knock on the door, just show them your unused notebook collection, the stack of cups near your desk, and the carousel of pens. They’re sure to rule you out as the psychopath you present on the internet. Oh, wait…maybe that’s just me…

For more writer’s content, try out 5 Tips to Help Overcome Writer’s Block.