I was treated to this image yesterday when I went to Google. I think it is kind of ugly, but I always like seeing this sort of thing. It means that someone is having a birthday, and even though it is rarely someone I haven’t heard of, it’s nice to be reminded. So I clicked on it and it took me to my Google+ About page. For a moment, I figured it was some computer screw up. But, slow as I am about this stuff, I eventually realized that Google was just telling me that it knew that it was my birthday.
I went to Google on a browser where I wasn’t longed into Google+ plus, and sure enough: it was the same old Google page. I am not, it appears, a star. Still, I think it is kind of a nice thing for Google to do. It is all part of the Google+ treatment. On my birthday, Google+ sends out an alert to all of my several dozen followers that it is my birthday, offering them an easy way to wish me a happy birthday. And pretty much no one does. I don’t take this as an insult.
When I get a reminder of someone else’s birthday, I’m very reticent to offer them a birthday wish. It seems a bit like stalking. If I don’t really know them well, what does it say? Just the same, when I do wish people happy birthdays, they are always gracious. What’s more, even relatively famous people seem fairly shocked by the birthday wish. Recently, I wished Martin Longman a happy birthday and he was clearly pleased and surprised. So even an established writer like Longman doesn’t seem to be getting a bunch of people wishing him a happy birthday.
The other side of it is that privacy people might freak out. But I suspect that they would be the kind of people who wouldn’t provide Google+ with their birthdays anyway. I’m all for privacy myself, but for a decade now, most of my personal information has been widely known. And I generally assume that everything I say and do is being recording by the NSA, DEA, and any other organization that is concerned with loose cannons like myself — regardless of how committed to peace we may be.
The only thing that I wish is that Google would take the time to create a better image to celebrate my birthday. I’m very simple — one might even say boring — in my preferences for delicious birthday treats. Vanilla ice cream really is the most wonderful. As for cake, I like a light chocolate with vanilla frosting. And folks: why do I see canned frosting at the super market? Frosting is extremely easy to make. It’s simple: powered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla. It couldn’t be easier — or more delicious. But what do we get in the Google image? I don’t know, but it doesn’t look very tasty.
I don’t mean to complain. But next year, I hope that Google offers me more appealing treats for my birthday. I mean, there are seven cakes there and not one looks especially tasty. Maybe I’ll get Andrea to create a better one for me next year. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.