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Think Google is taking over your brain? There's a song for that

October 11, 2012|By Jessica Guynn
  • Think Google is taking over your brain? Now there's a song for that. L.A. indie pop duo Not a Bus has come out with a new tune: "Google Is My Brain." Don't worry, you can Google it.
Think Google is taking over your brain? Now there's a song for that.…

Two years ago while unveiling Google Instant, a nifty feature that predicts what you are going to type to deliver search results even faster, Google co-founder Sergey Brin proclaimed: "We want to make Google the third half of your brain."

Since then, the world has become even more Google-dependent for information. If a smartphone or a tablet are within easy reach, why search your brain for the answer that is just a few swipes away? That was the inspiration behind a new song "Google Is My Brain" from L.A. indie pop duo Not a Bus.

"A couple of years ago someone at a party told me about a pub, I think it was in Chicago, that for years had a big encyclopedia set behind the bar. Whenever the patrons had a disagreement about something, some fact that each insisted they were right about, they'd make a bet, put their money on the bar, and the bartender would settle it by looking it up in the encyclopedia," said David Palmer, one half of the duo. "He said the last time he was there the encyclopedia set was gone. Now when there's a disagreement, everyone just pulls out their phones. This got me thinking about the many ways in which the Web, and especially Google, has taken the place of not only our traditional ways of looking for information, but also of memory itself."

Palmer says that Google has seeped into more of his brain. If the musician and visual artist needs to look up a phone number, he turns to Google. If someone asks if he’s free tomorrow night, he again turns to Google. He sends himself emails via Gmail to remind himself to do things. So he and his bandmate, Barry Keenan, a musician and music producer, decided to write an ode to the mighty algorithm and to the company that rules Internet search (not to mention driverless cars and "smart" glasses).

"Of course, it's a mixed blessing. All the information in the world is at our fingertips, which is very seductive, but in exchange we give up some of our privacy, and perhaps some of our inner world as well," Palmer said.

The tune's second verse is a playful reference to Philip K. Dick’s 1968 science fiction novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," the dark dystopian future that was the setting for "Blade Runner." Android is the name of Google’s mobile software.

Nights I count electric sheep

Can't remember what we did last week

I keep all my hopes and dreams

In a cloud that never rains

Google is my brain"

Don't worry, you can Google it.

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Follow me on Twitter @jguynn

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