Alphabet: For the love of Language and Civilization (My Google Story)

By Pratishtha Dobhal


The thought pre-dates the announcement. Language, dialect, the good old ‘bhaasha’ has an identity separate from the clout—one of the many reasons I love the sub-texts and language spinning out of Urban Dictionary.

The oldest, most trusted guide for a majority of Indians remains the good ‘ol Webster’s dictionary. However, the love for my indigenous language is second to my adopted language. I feel chuffed that I know two languages well, and three words in French, a few in German, two words in Russian, and for everything else, there’s Google.  But that’s me. My fascination for everything else besides my immediate has always been my most criticized failure.

Most have deemed it as strained loyalty, I think it’s my personal anarchy to not adopt what I was given without reason, without question, without any astute judgments in place. History and love for research warms me up to the long narrative—the epic story that fits no amount of viral feeds or lists. No wonder the first tattoo that should ever grace my body should remain the script from the Indus Valley Civilization/Harappan script (Indus Valley Civilization).
I know I run the risk of having something ominously random written on my body, but the idea of having something currently undeciphered inked makes me feel prophet-like and invincible: P. When I see my parents who are English to Hindi translators and journalists (Mum trumps dad by knowing Russian as well), I feel like the house becomes a colony of mysteries—where we chase feelings and emotions that seem distinctly Hindi-wali and find a way to translate it into widely spoken English.

So now when Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced they would be adding Google to Alphabet, it made perfect sense to me. I find language and words remain deeply inter-twined with communication. It’s what separates great content and incredible stories from incoherent laments. It tells you how we evolved, how we felt, experienced, and engaged. While I hope that in the near future Alphabet becomes an altogether new language, atleast, Google innovated in its entirety. It chose to remove itself from remaining eco-centric and looking beyond the revered clout. The recognition that innovation remains integral to tech and a new millennium couldn’t be established more clearly than Google’s most recent announcement. When I see Christopher Nolan’s, Darrel Paul Fisher’s, or Alex Garland’s work amongst other path-breaking visual artists I am drawn to their cultivated mechanics of a ‘soon-to-be’ parallel reality. I am drawn even more to what words will come out of Alphabet.

As Google becomes Alphabet it champions the democracy of innovative change and doesn’t rely on the comforts of immediate procurement. One of the many reasons why the tech space will remain at the frontier of volatile change and will challenge us mere mortals to keep pace with it! We have to, because there is little choice. The dynamics of change incorporated by Alphabet will have an equal and sometimes opposite impact on us. The naysayers who cannot understand how all-encompassing technology can really be and remain followers instead of leaders will chase the precedents set by Alphabet. Hopefully, the divergents will want to do the same.

Even though the Indian tech space seems to be constantly growing, we are still far from leading tech via home-grown companies. The quick-let’s-cash-it-in techies know that to make phenomenal success of an application or new tech entity in the Indian market they need to cash in on the business procured and enhanced by expanding innovation in roti, kapda, makaan (Food, Fashion, and Housing). There, lies their disregard for fully realising that there is a world beyond mere economics. For good businesses, large start-up and tech-companies need to think bigger, richer, expand their bird-s eye view of the world from 3D to 5D. When motion pictures innovate through 7D and Facebook acquired Occulus raises dangerous, tactile, ethical issues you need to question how you fit into the semantics of innovation.

And while Alphabet promises to go where no man has gone before I hope the ones entrusted with enhancing Google and others out of the Alphabet lab remain originative. For someone like me who uses Google maps, I hope the accuracy in telling me routes keeping in mind real time change becomes more precise. I also hope that the visual artists and aesthetic features get enhanced by guiding me through a possibly longer route, rich with aesthetics (More in my next piece of ‘Finding the unfounded pretty Google Mapped route Home’).

In Larry’s blogspot he mentions how Alphabet remains important to the core of a civilization, and how it resonates with alpha economics. It’s logical and Google makes me re-think why I decided to not take the job offered at Google AdWords after a rigorous round of tests at the NIIT centre a decade ago. Perhaps because I was to live the journey of will, whims, fancies, and make my own words through alphabets. For each to his own—for every dream there should be a significant amount of chase. For Alphabet, I hope the chase is in encouraging ‘positive’ far reaching, environmentally sustainable changes which don’t limit themselves in economics or market rules. I hope Alphabet becomes a place for seemingly unreal but progressively humane innovation that brings out the good in all of us and reclaims the disintegrating parts of our civilization.

While we at home claim Sundar Pichai as our own, we need to look beyond this deep-seated myopia. We shouldn’t forget that Sergey was born in Moscow, and Larry was born in Michigan. United States of America remains a hotbed for immigrants. Stamped as Indian should give promise to those working in tech that they can also lead a truly global conglomerate, as many others from around the world… Not to forget that we are not alone in the universe and while we may have individual identities we are the same species. The culture of claim is an imperialist notion and in embracing depth of understanding and tolerance for individual identities we work with more skill and knowledge.

To Alphabet, my best wishes for the future, and to Google, my continued wishes remain inboxed on gmail and in the search-bar of chrome.


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