13 March 2009

What Is Your GoogliverseID?

One line in the theme song for Secret Agent Man TV show goes

They've given you a number and taken away your name

Sounds harsh, doesn't it? So dehumanizing? While I am all for treating people as flesh-and-blood beings with feelings, I support assigning numbers to people when it comes to keeping track of these sentient beings in the computer.

I spent many years doing network account administration and know first-hand how frustrating it is to deal with account names created from last names and such. It may be fine for a while to assign Joe Block the name blockj but it won't stay unique long. It is a small world and eventually some other Joe Block will join the company. So what do you do? blockj2 ! Even if the name seems unique, it only takes a big merger to introduce another person with the same "unique" name, perhaps in another country or another U.S. state. Best to go with some sort of numbering system.

Would it be nice if someday when Google takes over the world, we all can be assigned some unique Google Universe ID, or GoogliverseID for short. Perhaps the ID can be made up from the time and date that we were born plus latitude and longitude info, something that cannot be duplicated.

I am doing research for my high school reunion next year and it is a pain not knowing if the John Smith I found is the same John Smith from my year. Some names may appear unique to me but turns out to be popular in that person's culture. With GoogliverseID, that problem will be gone forever. Go ahead, Google, just take over the world already!

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