Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and ed Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and editorial at the Web Summit. She’s interested in all things tech, with a particular fondness for lifestyle and creative tech and the spaces where these intersect. Twitter
We all get curious about our futures from time to time, it’s natural. Some clever person has played on this and launched Google Fortunetelling.
But there’s a catch – as much as Google probably could hazard a guess at our futures, this site is a fake. However, it’s an imposter worth taking notice of.
It’s designed to highlight the plight of refugees, triggered by the current migrant crisis in Europe.
The URL (beta.google.com) is registered to the Netherlands and Chrome is flagging it as malicious for some users, probably down to the copyright issues of using Google’s name and new logo. Google doesn’t appear to be taking any legal action publicly just yet though; the company has itself been actively fundraising to combat the crisis.
When you open the site, it invites you to ask a question about your future, but when you start typing, it autofills to “where can I find a safe place?” And the suggested alternative questions underneath are just as thought provoking – “Will I be reunited with my family?” and “Is there a place I can give my children a safe future?”
When the list of harrowing questions disappear, you are redirected to an explanation of what the site really is: a way of getting us to think about what it’s like to really have an uncertain future.
It’s an interesting approach, and similar to the Super Mario style game video that has been created to draw attention to the journey taken by refugees every day. In the video, Mario is “Refugee Mario” and you see him traveling with smugglers across the Mediterranean Sea. He eventually reaches the Hungarian border where the guards catch him and send him to prison.
While Google Fortunetelling might not be legitimate, it is cleverly drawing our attention to the migrant crisis and making us think differently about how we can help. And that’s all that really matters.
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