I distinctly remember when Google was launched because its launch represented my conversion to the internet as a source of information. It’s not that there weren’t any search engines before Google; it’s just that they sucked. I think I was relying on Yahoo back in about 1997, when I got my first home internet connection, but there were others, too. They just weren’t all that helpful.
In 1998, I decided I wanted to try my hand at creating my own website. I went to a big bookshop in Sydney and found a 500 page tome about html. That made me think html must be far too difficult for a casual “programmer” (yes, I thought it was a programming language) to learn. Nevertheless, I still wanted to at least understand it better, so I googled “html tutorials.” Lo and behold! I discovered a dead easy tutorial that took me step-by-step through the process. I felt the same joy I felt as a kid when I stood up on a surfboard for the first time after I entered the <html> </html> tags, inserted some text between them and discovered I’d just created a web page. My joy only increased as I learned to separate paragraphs, add images and change the size and color of text.
In 1999, I created my first full blown website for the Sydney Rockclimbing Club. Using Google to find other organizations to share my content with, I was able to quickly gather a following.
My first website creation effort led to 2 paid jobs that netted me $3,000, but then high school and college kids started making websites with Dreamweaver and I lost interest in website creation.
Flash forward to 2008
I’m living in Cambodia and as yet, internet connections are slow and getting a satellite or cable connection at home is very expensive. Fortunately, there’s an internet café just a few blocks away, so I go there to work every day. I’m able to work as a freelance writer in Cambodia because I can do all my research and keep up with current trends using Google.
In 2009, we got fiber optic cable in Sihanoukville and in 2010, started getting great WiFi connections. Today, I just use a 3G dongle (USB stick) and it works like a charm. I’m using Google for just about everything now:
- Of course, I still use the search engine, but also use Google News and Google Scholar regularly.
- I switched from Yahoo mail to Gmail a long time ago.
- I’m a regular visitor/contributor on G+.
- I’ve set up Google author pages.
- I check my traffic using Google Analytics.
- I use Google Webmaster tools (especially keyword search) to help improve my traffic.
- I created a custom Google Map of Sihanoukville Cambodia.
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