Techtiquette: Can I tell someone to 'Go Google it?'

just google it
Is it ever OK to tell someone to go Google something? Is it rude?

Techtiquette answers your burning questions about the proper way to use technology in social situations.

Dear Hope,

I have a friend who asks a lot of questions he could otherwise find the answer to on Google. He messages me all the time about the weather, directions, movie times, entertainment trivia and even spelling. Sometimes I just want to tell him to go look it up. Would that be rude?

This problem makes me sad. Since when did a question become a transaction?

Now that many of us have smartphones, we have started expecting people to become more self sufficient. We have grown intolerant of reliance.

What once had been normal questions -- Is the hardware store open on Sundays? How much are a bucket of balls at the new driving range? -- have become annoyances. Just out yourself!

The danger with this expectation is that we have forgotten what it's like to know that we don't know everything -- the delight in allowing ourselves to wonder.

Yes, weather questions are straightforward enough, but it's not always about the absolute temperature outside. It could be a request for context. (How hot was it compared to yesterday? Remember the thunderstorm that evacuated Lollapalooza in 2012?)

A ton of minor questions easily solved with a simple Google (GOOGL GOOGLE) search can be annoying, but your friend is asking you because your opinion is the one he trusts, respects, and wants -- not some text on the Internet.

So, instead of telling him to go look up an answer by himself, maybe gently respond with an "I don't know" or "I'm not sure."

You don't have to do the work for him, but don't be so quick to redirect him either. He'll get the hint if you really want him to go away.

Otherwise, try responding with your own question: Why do you want to know?

Maybe he'll start talking about something you're interested in too.

And maybe you'll start a real conversation, instead of dealing in a one-way transaction.

Got a burning tech etiquette question? Email Hope King at

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