Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus: Google!

Wednesday Dec 22nd 2010 by Mike Elgan
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Google sees you when you're sleeping. They know when you're awake. They know when you've been bad or good (so be good for Google's sake!)

To the best of my knowledge, Santa Claus and Google have never been seen in the same room. Coincidence? I think not.

If you deconstruct the Santa Claus tradition, you'll see that it mirrors the Google reality. That's right. Google is Santa Claus!

Consider that both Santa Claus and Google:

• Deliver free "toys" to almost everyone around the world.

There aren't many individuals, companies or organizations that simply give away a huge variety of free stuff. Santa Claus and Google are on the short list.

Of course, Google is advertiser supported. Santa Claus's organization, on the other hand, is not publicly traded, so we really don't know where his revenue comes in.

He somehow pays for a big house and factory, feeds a lot of reindeer and elves, and still manages to dress himself in fancy red clothes. He's getting money from somewhere.

The important thing is that in the case of both Google and Santa Claus, we're not supposed to think about revenue, just the free gifts.

• Come into your home to deliver those free "toys."

Not only do Google and Santa Claus give away free stuff, they both deliver. They both actually come into your house to bring it to you. And the fatter your pipe, the more stuff can come into your home at one time.

• Can deliver packets magically through the air.

One of the most unbelievable aspects of the Santa Claus tradition is that old St. Nick delivers toys magically through the air, and to every house in the world in a short period of time.

Believe it, because this is precisely what Google does. The vast majority of Google data flies through the air at some point, either bouncing off satellites or transmitted through Wi-Fi or over the mobile phone networks.

Does Google use reindeer to do it? Nobody knows. Google's methods are protected trade secrets.

• Have an army of "elves" that make "toys."

Santa Claus employs a huge number of "elves," which are talented makers of fun things.

This is just like Google, where employees have rare skills, don't get paid a lot, but seem to have fun slaving away.

• Make toys in a huge workshop where the workers play and eat sugary treats.

Santa's workers toil away in a big "workshop." It's not all work, though, and it's no factory sweatshop. Santa's workshop is usually understood to be a fun place where the workers play with fun stuff and eat a lot of sugary foods.

This is also a perfect description of the Googleplex, and the company's 22 other locations, where workshops are littered with colorful amusements, including model trains, multi-colored bicycles and colorful toys of every description.

All the food is free in Google's cafeteria, and sodas, candy and other treats are always free and nearby.

It's impossible to describe the Googleplex without it sounding exactly like Santa's workshop.

• Have magic vehicles that know where every house is.

Santa Claus not only has a magic sleigh, but somehow he acquires knowledge of where everyone in the world lives. He probably has a photographic memory, and remembers where everyone lives.

If you're lucky, you might even spot Santa's sleigh -- or one of Google's StreetView cars. Those cars are Google's photographic memory, which capture images of every home, office and business in the world.

• Keep getting fatter.

The earliest depictions of Santa Claus described him as being thin -- even gaunt. As time went by, however, he became fatter and, presumably, more jolly. Nowadays, Santa Claus can only be described as morbidly obese.

Likewise, Google started out as a search engine designed as a "lite" alternative to bloated Yahoo and Alta Vista. Besides quality of search results, Google's chief attribute was slimness.

Over time, the company has launched hundreds of products and acquired dozens of companies -- at least 25 of them this year alone. Now, the company has become as bloated and over-sized as Santa Claus himself.

• Take advantage of the cookies they find in your home.

Children check the plate of cookies they leave out for evidence of Santa Claus' visit. Likewise, by checking the cookies on your computer, you can tell if Google services have been downloaded in your browser.

• Receive "letters" all the time that go unanswered.

Both Santa Claus and Google give away free stuff. As such, they have no obligation to answer questions or provide tech support on the items they give away. And you certainly can't reach either by telephone.

Unlike Santa Claus, however, Google services must be accessed with an all-important password. If you get "locked out" of your account for whatever reason, go ahead and send a note to Google.

You'll get exactly the same response as if you were to write a letter to Santa asking for a pony.

• Keep track of who's naughty and nice.

Santa Claus doesn't bring presents to all the boys and girls, only the good ones. If you've been bad in the previous year, you get nothing.

Likewise, Google keeps lists of who's naughty and nice. If your small company, for example, does something on its web pages that Google doesn't like, the company will blacklist you, which means it will remove your site from its index. When potential customers search for a company like yours, they won't find it with a Google search.

For all these reasons, I believe in Santa Claus. Again.

Google sees you when you're sleeping. They know when you're awake. They know when you've been bad or good (so be good for Google's sake!)

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