Should I Just Google It?

September 26, 2018

“Just Google it” is a common expression and reflects how many of us find information. So much so that It is hard to remember a time without Google. It began as a search engine, and quickly became a household name. You can find the answer to almost any question by searching on Google. Yet when it comes to legal advice, Google should just be a starting point.

Fact checking is always necessary as it is difficult to discern what is public opinion verse fact or law. This is especially the case when Googling any type of legal advice. Every state has different laws and different requirements when it comes to estate planning, probate, real estate transactions, and family or marital law, to name a few. Google is a wonderful place to begin your research, but getting conclusive answers on legal issues should be left to licensed attorneys in the state that you need legal representation.

Happy Birthday Google! But How Did Google Googol Begin?

The tech behemoth was incorporated September 4, 1998, but officially celebrates its 20th anniversary on Thursday September 27, 2018. Google was invented by Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The site was named after a googol – which represents the number one followed by one hundred zeros — found in the book “Mathematics and the Imagination” by Edward Kasner and James Newman. The name symbolizes the vast amount of information that a search engine has to filter. But how did Google get so big?

Google: a Brief History

1998-1999: Wealthy investors such as Andy Bechtolsheim, David Cheriton, Ram Shriram and Jeff Bezos help Google get started with over $1 million in seed money. The company later raises $25 million and moves to Mountain View, California.

2004-2005: Google’s Initial Public Offering, raises $1.67 billion in an online auction. The company debuts Gmail. The firm also launches Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Talk for chat. In a follow-up stock offering, Google raises over $4 billion.

2008-2009: The Chrome Web browser makes its first appearance. Google initiates its self-driving car project.

2010-2011: Google releases its first phone, the Nexus One and The first Chromebook- laptop, appears.

2014-2015: Google buys Nest home-automation and reveals a prototype of its self-driving car. Google later reorganizes into a holding company called Alphabet, Inc., of which Google is a division. Sundar Pichai becomes its CEO.

2018: After several years of its search engine effectively blocked in China, reports indicate that the company has begun a project, codenamed “Dragonfly”, that would satisfy government censorship laws.

Google is Great but has Limitations

No one can deny Google’s usefulness and effectiveness as a search engine in the digital age; but there are still questions that cannot be answered definitively by a simple Google search. Currently, a search engine is basically a set of algorithms for ranking results that meet specific criteria. It is not highly intuitive, or interactive.

Nevertheless, a time may come when a complex question, or just a thought, will be enough, to find your answer. In the meantime, the same reason you would not rely on a Google search to diagnose or treat a medical condition is the same reason you shouldn’t rely on a simple Google search for legal advice.

Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or for a personalized consultation in the areas of estate planning, elder law, and asset protection.