When I was chatting online Wednesday with Motley Fool Hidden Gems advisor Bill Mann, we were marveling at how easily Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) captures our imaginations. It got me thinking: From Google Earth to this remarkable music video, Google has a grip on some of the world's coolest content. Not that others don't. It's just that Google somehow sucks you in -- like a vortex from which there's no escape.
Take my secret shame, the Da Vinci Code Quest. I'm completely addicted to this 24-day Google-hosted puzzle game, which is why I'm now convinced that Google is pure evil. Wait. Stop typing that hate mail. (Yes, I see you.) You need to hear me out on this.
Only an evil genius could create a marketing scheme from a piece of pop culture. I know because I read Google's blog every now and again. And this post, by Google software engineer and four-time World Puzzle Championships Individual winner Wei-Hwa Huang, spells it out perfectly. Huang proclaims that he long ago sought to create a game whereby a thousand puzzles of various types would be tied together into an intricate story. Turns out he wasn't ambitious enough. The Da Vinci Code Quest contains 12,358 puzzle permutations in six categories. Yes, you read that correctly -- 12,358. Just. Plain. Evil.
But it's also genius. Every time I log in to solve the next puzzle, I'm exposed to a lot of Google products -- you're often called upon to use search, Google Maps, and Google Video to get clues -- and the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie. It's a puzzle of promotions. And it's got me thinking of Dan Brown's cultish book all over again -- more than a year after I read it. I also find myself now longing to see the movie, regardless of whether I think Tom Hanks is a poor substitute for Harrison Ford in the lead role of Professor Robert Langdon.
I'm thinking about all of this today because this week, for the latest edition of Motley Fool NOW, our e-mail newsletter for new Fools, Rick Munarriz asked us writers about Google's staying power. My response at the time was that it didn't matter but that I couldn't see a situation in which Google would become irrelevant. I'd now like to revise my comments, Rick. I believe that too many of us will become dependent on Google, to the point that it will become our primary valet in the digital world. And that's something that investors can only appreciate. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've a puzzle to solve.
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Fool contributorTim Beyersthinks The Da Vinci Code is an addicting piece of fiction. And yes, he will go and see the movie if he gets a chance. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out which stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.