The Bush And 'The Google'

Watching the clips of George W. Bush's CNBC interview that were posted on YouTube, I kept trying to think about what it all meant. After all, this is our nation's president, our Commander in Chief, the so-called leader of the free world. Anything he says about the economy, international relations, and social issues can potentially impact billions of people. So what can we learn from President George W. Bush when he talked about "the Google" with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo last Monday?

Bartiromo asked the President, "I'm curious, have you ever Googled anybody? Do you use Google?"

Let's parse his response, as posted in the transcript on MSNBC, and see what this could mean for the future of search, the Internet, and the free world.

Bush: "Occasionally."

The President is a busy man, and he doesn't have time to go online. There's little he needs to search for, since he has a gaggle of advisors always bringing him information. Yet, on occasion, even the world's most powerful man turns to search, and it points to a future where search engines are used by every person alive. Google isn't just for the masses; it's also for the world's most powerful.



Bush: "One of the things I've used on the Google is to pull up maps."

The President understands just how powerful the top search engine is. It isn't just Google --it's THE Google. One can even infer that the President predicts Google will maintain its dominance of the search landscape for the foreseeable future. Is it any wonder that last Monday, the day of the CNBC interview, Google's stock topped $480, its highest total to date? The Google could not find a better spokesman than the President.

President Bush is also an avid map user. This points to a very bright future for local search.

Bush: "I forgot the name of the program, but you get the satellite and you can--like, I kind of like to look at the ranch on Google, reminds me of where I want to be sometimes."

Search isn't just about connecting people with information and commerce. It's emotional. It reminds me of the types of revealing searches that were exposed in the AOL search database this summer. Checking one of the databases online, there's a search from user number 17979059 for "crawford texas," and the user visited, which has the floor plans to Bush's ranch. Maybe this user was our very own President Bush! Glancing at this person's other searches, he searched for several other cities in Bush's home state, and he also searched for "cleveland indians batting adverages." Our President, you might recall, once ran the Texas Rangers baseball team, and the spelling also indicates a connection. This searcher also looked for the "ups store," which is a bit disappointing, since I'd hope that our nation's leader would use the U.S. Postal Service.

The President understandably couldn't remember which program he uses to view the ranch. Was it the Google Earth or the Google Maps, the MSN Virtual Earth or the Mapquest? Many of the Internet titans are developing increasingly sophisticated mapping services, and the President appreciates the robustness of the sector.

Bush: "Yeah, I do it some."

This is a president who's not afraid to change his mind (or, perhaps, waffle). He doesn't just search occasionally--he searches some.

Bush: "I tend not to e-mail or--not only tend not to e-mail, I don't e-mail, because of the different record requests that can happen to a president. I don't want to receive e-mails because, you know, there's no telling what somebody's e-mail may--it would show up as, you know, a part of some kind of a story, and I wouldn't be able to say, 'Well, I didn't read the e-mail.' 'But I sent it to your address, how can you say you didn't?' So, in other words, I'm very cautious about e-mailing."

E-mail marketing is dead. Short all e-mail-related stocks.

President Bush is also rightly concerned about privacy. He indicates that's the No. 1 issue for hoi polloi and presidents alike. After all, with a little careful sleuthing, I was able to find his search history in AOL's database. Just imagine what would happen if his entire search history, his e-mails, and everything he has stored in the Google Desktop was revealed?

This President is setting the pace and tone for our nation. Ms. Bartiromo, if you have a chance, in your next interview please ask him about Yahoo's Project Panama,'s comeback, Microsoft's digital media solutions, and whether he downloads classic episodes of "The West Wing" on iTunes.

Meanwhile, we have a new candidate for a keynote speaker at the next Search Insider Summit. Mr. President, clear your schedule. Maybe we'll even hold the next one in Crawford.

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