Google Announces Search Engine Entering Beta

Fake News written by James Baughn on Thursday, July 7, 2005

from the i'm-not-feeling-lucky dept.

SILLYCON VALLEY -- During a press conference at Google Auditorium #5 (the one next to the climbing wall gym), the management of Google made an unexpected announcement that will shake the Internet to its core routers: the Google search engine has finally emerged from Alpha testing and is now considered a Beta product.

"After extensive testing over the last decade, we are pleased to announce that Google Search has earned the rank of Beta and will enter its final Q&A phases, expected to last until 2012," boasted Mr. Dewno Eville, Google's Director of Public Relations.

The crowd sat motionless for several awkward seconds until somebody timidly asked, "Does this mean the world's most popular search engine has been merely an Alpha product all this time?"

"Yes... yes it has," Eville responded matter-of-factly.

"This is a joke, right?" asked a reporter.

"No."

"You're absolutely positive about this?" asked another reporter.

"Yes."

"Really?"

"Yes, really."

"Really with a cherry on top?"

"Yes, dammit, really!"

"There's got to be a typo in your announcement. Are you sure?"

"Yes, do I need to break out my trusty cluestick and beat you all over the head? Repeat after me: BETA BETA BETA BETA BETA BETA!!!"

Everybody in the audience was too stunned to repeat after him. After several more seconds of head scratching and picking jaws off the floor by the audience, another reporter demanded, "So let me get this straight. For the last decade, Google has been running a scam designed to fool people into relying on a service that was not considered ready for prime-time by its own developers and contains countless bugs and problems. Right?"

"Uh... I fail to see the problem. After all, the same strategy has worked beautifully for Microsoft. I mean... who in their right mind would ever rate Windows as Beta, much less Production, quality?"

After some tentative laughter from the crowd, Eville quickly jumped into the rest of his announcement. "As part of the promotion to Beta status, we are pleased to reveal several new features for Google Search. As you've no doubt noticed, the existing search engine has been rather Spartan -- what you would expect from an Alpha product that is not fully finished. Well, that's about to change."

Eville whipped out a laser pointer and started pointing at a large screen behind him. "This is a screenshot of Google Beta, to be released to the public later today. One, you'll notice all of the new links on the homepage: Travel Deals, Online Casinos, Mortgage Refinancing, Discount Cigarettes, Canadian Prescription Drugs, etc. We're striving to provide convenient links to the information that most users want, all in the name of enhancing their Google experience."

"More importantly, we're going to slowly minimize the importance of our PageRank(tm) ranking system, which has not performed to our expectations during the Alpha period. Instead, the Beta version now features PayRank(tm), which ranks sites based on the number of shares of Google stock that the webmaster owns."

"But that's not all," he continued. "Our search engine can now crawl more than just web pages, it can spider spam emails received by our Gmail users. Now, if you're looking to reduce your mortgage payments or enlarge certain body parts, Google search will take you straight to the best deals plucked from the latest spam. Our patent-pending system is able to seemlessly convert the gibberish used by most spammers into plain English, all in the name of enhanching your Google experience."

"And last but not least, Google is now unveiling it's latest achievement: a computer system containing over one googol bytes of information about every user who has ever visited Google. We know their names, their addresses, their shoe size, the day of the week they prefer to go appliance shopping, their sexual fetishes, their most common spelling errors, and many other data mining opportunities that we can't reveal here."

"Did you honestly think our employees were devoting a portion of their time for extra-curricular projects? Yeah, right! They've been hard at work on our "Google Online Database" (GOD) system. Armed with this exhaustive storehouse of knowledge, we can deliver relevant search results before you even sit down at the keyboard! We know all, see all... but we're only going to use our search domination powers for good, not evil."

Eville tried to bring the press conference to a close, but the shocked and appalled members of the audience couldn't summon the strength to leave. Finally, he announced, "I've just been told that there's free snacks for everybody in the Google Gourmet Kitchen & Imported Wine Cellar #2."

He continued, "Oh, wait, let me explain how to get there. First, go down this hall, turn left at the Stock Options Printing Office, make a right at the World's Largest Vending Machine Complex, then continue counter-clockwise around the Indoor Zen Meditation Garden and through the Martial Arts Training Room #3. Then at the T-junction, turn right, and proceed 125.239 meters until you reach the Gourmet Kitchen. You can't miss it... If you have any trouble, go to a computer console on the nearest wall and type 'Gourmet Kitchen 2' into a Google Meatspace search box."

After the shock of the announcement wore off, many reporters expressed outrage at Google while trying to find their way to the free lunch. Said one tech journalist after making a wrong turn and getting lost in the Situational Narcissism Contemplation Chamber, "Google didn't just jump the shark today... they jumped three cruise ships and a small island!"

Said another reporter after finally reaching the destination 35 minutes later, "Between Google Search, Google Mail, Google Maps, and Google News, I've become far more dependent on Google than I ever was with Microsoft. And that's downright scary."

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