What should your new Google name be?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt reportedly has predicted that teenagers one day will be able to automatically change their names to distance themselves from their Google past. But what strategy should you take to create a new name?

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

These are exciting times for young people.

How can they even sleep at night wondering whether the economy will ever change, hence allowing them to secure something that used to be called a job? And now they have something even greater to think about: a new identity.

I myself have barely been able to attain 15 winks over the last 48 hours, as I have been considering what name to adopt to get away from the barely spellable and entirely unpronounceable name I have carried for far too long.

Should you be wondering why this thought might have entered my orbit and why it should enter yours, you clearly don't follow the always interesting pronouncements of Google CEO Eric Schmidt with religious devotion.

Schmidt, you see, told The Wall Street Journal that he predicts that teenagers would one day be able to distance themselves from their youthful indiscretions, most of which are happily accessible through Google, by being automatically entitled to change their names.

I am a little perplexed as to why this obviously much-needed privilege should be extended only to those whose minds have yet to be fully formed and whose actions are yet to be fully assessed for their levels of myopia and mindlessness.

Who will you become? It's very exciting. CC Scragz/Flickr

Surely, all of us who have been subject to the surveillance and recording of Google over the last few years ought to have the same opportunity to declare that it was our former selves who, for example, robbed a bank while wearing a Darth Vader mask or threw a shoe at a visiting dignitary.

Still, Schmidt raises a wonderful opportunity for all sentient beings to come at least one step closer to the person they wish they were. So what strategy should one choose when becoming someone entirely new?

An indicator might be the way people name their children. It is invigorating to see how much they rely on contemporary, and therefore temporary, stars and trends.

Parenting.com offers a depressingly illuminating analysis of how the latest vampire movie, Britney Spears, or, please save us, "Gossip Girl" episode influences the naming of those who will shortly have to change those names, because they sent naked pictures of themselves to someone on their vampire social network.

Even the porn industry has done better than this. At least the idea of taking the name of the street where you first lived and your first puppy's name creates more originality than taking the name of some vapid, fang-filled toyboy.

But there is a certain inevitability in trying to cloak oneself in the garb of someone we admire. Naturally, there will be those who will choose to simply take on the exact first and last name of their heroes. There will suddenly be a spate of Robert Pattinsons, Angelina Jolies, Rod Blagojevichs, and The Situations, all enjoying the exciting Google-power of their new beings.

However, some might realize that taking on such a name might still lead back to their past. If their original self is found to have "liked" the famous person on Facebook or subscribed to their blog, fan site, or Twitter feed, surely they will be found by online sleuthing. So the smarter ones will need to find new formulas for their post-pubescent, or merely post-confessional, identities.

Some may decide to simply concoct something random and spurious for themselves, perhaps using dice, Scrabble sets, Rubik's Cube, and a large sprig of sage (that's how my parents came up with mine).

But perhaps there will be a veritable money pit of a business for some enterprising individuals who will guarantee to create a name so random, so divorced from your previous self, that no hacker, no security expert, and, most importantly, no Google engineer could ever associate that new name with your old, weak, pimpled self.

What will your new, breaking-with-the-past, search-free, Schmidt-inspired name be?

This is Jonathan Belgian Waffle wishing you a very good day and hoping that you will enjoy reading my new blog, Ladies who Lunch on Lobster in Louisiana.