Is Google Terminator's SkyNet?


Is Google SkyNet? In a word: Yes. In fact, in some ways, it's even smarter. SkyNet didn't assume worldwide domination until 2029, while Google has already effectively monopolized search and it's only 2009. Sure, one uses a giant Web crawler to index billions of pages, and the other uses a giant arsenal of automated nuclear super-weapons to extinguish the human race. But petty discrepancies aside, they're virtual twins. Don't believe it? Take a look at the tale of the tape:


Google SkyNet
Established September 4, 1998 August 4, 1997
Funding Stanford University U.S. Military via NORAD
Built by Cybergeek PhD students Cyberdyne Systems
Goal Eliminate 404 error Eliminate human military error
Origin Menlo Park, CA Sunnyvale, CA
Scaled Up By Selling keyword advertising Gaining sentience and self-awareness
Assets $31.76 billion USD B2 Bombers; American nuclear arsenal
Cost $1.1 million initial investment ~3 billion human lives
Partnerships NASA/Ames, Sun Microsystems, AOL Time Warner, News Corp, GeoEye Army of cyborg terminators
Shameful Secret Named after a misspelling of the word "googol." Saw Spielberg's AI; cried.


Direct Descendant Experimental search engine called "BackRub." A microprocessor invented by Miles Bennett Dyson.
Tipping Point Begins selling keyword advertising in 2000, leading to a market cap of $23 billion at 2004 IPO. Of its own volition, nukes Russia on August 29, 1997, aka "Judgment Day," sparking catastrophic nuclear conflict.
Unforeseen Turn of Events Creates smartphone platform. Uh oh, Apple! Designates all human life as enemy. Uh oh, humans!
Motivation Making cool products; not being evil. Anger, fear, insecurity.
Thanks to... Smart Google Labs projects like Gmail, Maps, Docs and Scholar The hording of a heat-resistant metal called coltan, used to make Terminator exoskeletons.


Fatal Flaw Achieves 70% market share, which makes users and regulators increasingly uncomfortable. Allowing a small group of humans to survive, in order to run incinerator necessary for post-genocide clean-up. Camp worker John Connor frees this group to form insurgency.
Potential Undoing A very competitive, litigious, and well-capitalized Microsoft. Kyle Reese, sent back in time by Connor to protect his own mother, Sarah, later impregnating her and becoming John Connor's father.
Can Only Be Defeated By Inevitable anti-trust litigation The surprisingly durable reprise of the Governator



Blows Your Mind By... Providing its pimply, energetic employees with one free day per week to mess around with pet projects. Violating the Novikov self-consistency principle, which asserts that any time-travel event that could change the past would reduce its own probability to zero.
Pesky Humans... Sue for privacy violations committed by Street View van, and lose. Crush original Terminator in hydraulic press and steal his arm.
If You... Search "Worst band in the world," you are pushed to search results for the band Creed. Drop a Terminator in molten steel, he melts at a theatrically slow pace.
Whoa! Google Groups contains over 845 million messages, the world's largest body of written human conversation. Dept. of Defense tries to use SkyNet to remove a rogue virus from its computers. Turns out SkyNet is the virus! Bummer!
Would Be Lonely Without... YouTube You to burn
Bet You Didn't Know Google Maps has mapped a chunk of Mars. The female Terminatrix in Terminator 3 is a composite of T-800 and T-1000 and is powered by an onboard "plasma reactor."
Seems to Think... That vertical search engines like SourceTool can be squeezed out with bad advertising rates. That humans are eager to nuke each other into oblivion at the slightest provocation.
Secret Sauce Uses a secret algorithm to assign "quality scores" to advertisers' sites, on which it bases ad rates. Takes the concept of "cybernetic revolt" pioneered in films like 1927's Metropolis to the next badass level.
Lame Takeoff Cuil The Matrix


Solution to Potential Undoing Lawyers; acquisitions T-800; T-1000; later, a hot lady Terminator (T-X)
Living in 450,000 servers all over the earth, with no central nervous system that can be destroyed. Every computer on earth, with no central nervous system that can be destroyed.
Building On... An advanced empire across the Earth, ready by 2009 An advanced empire across the Earth, ready by 2029.
Hopes You'll... Enjoy the new Gmail themes! See the new Terminator movie. And die, already.

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  • wesarnquist

    It's ironic that when you wrote this 6 years ago it was just a joke, but now it's actually starting to become true. Think I'm crazy? Take a look at what they're actually doing now - they hired Ray Kurzweil, bought DeepMind, bought Boston Dynamics... the list goes on. Geez, I mean, they actually just built the world's self-learning computer and hardly no one noticed... Look up "the singularity" - the machines will literally become smarter and more powerful than us and the big hope is that they'll see value in human beings and help us along rather than "terminate" us. There are some very respected and influential people talking about this now - it is literally going to happen within our lifetimes - possibly within a couple of decades - and Google's way ahead of anyone else in making it happen. I'm not crazy - educate yourselves!

  • mattwo

    So in other words there is no comparison and you're just desperately grasping at straws?

  • Hello

    If anybody's going to become the non-fiction equivalent of Skynet it's gonna either be China or Google. DO NOT LET MACHINES RULE THE WORLD!!!

  • XrazgarX

    LMAO! some ones smoking some funny stuff! of all the crack pot therories! XD omg god u must be a real moron! and i supose you also belive that google puts floride in the drinking water to get us all to use google! and the tv is a fourm of mind control. LOL

  • Dat Phan

    speaking of morons, your atrocious vocabulary (i.e. oh my god god u must be a real moron) just caused you to call our lord and savior a moron. Please resist the urge to overuse emoticons, as you obviously are not ready. god day to you sir!

  • trevor woods

    after reading this i typed google is and 1 of the results was google is your friend which kinda scared me

  • Richard Soper

    Anyone else see NO resemblance what-so-ever? Obviously the person who wrote this article hasnt done their research.

  • Alpha Networker

    This is an absolutely Hilarious comparison! Thank you for this! You actually got me laughing out loud!

  • Shaun Cockerill

    I once read a blog a few years ago stating something extremely similar, and suggesting that google would create it's own cmputer, that was entirely wireless, without a hard drive, that would store all it's information on the internet...

    I just read a newspaper article stating exactly that...
    A Low power/low processor machine that only runs on minimal memory for temporary files, and hosts everything else in the google cloud. Good for browsing, emails and web applications.

    And I can't wait!

  • Jessica Eballar

    I'm not completely convinced, Chris. I see the points and I have yet to see Google completely obliterating mankind as we know it. But if you DO find something scary, let us all know. We would really want to know! (Totally dig "Sky Net" in Google fonts, btw.)
    a time tracking software

  • Mike Shields

    Everytime I read something like this, I play the computer checkers and beat it consistently until the feeling subsides....

  • Jeremy Castro

    i saw the governator walking into the googleplex last week. when did skynet develop their first protoype?