I read an interesting article today about a couple who tried to use Google to help pick a baby name.
The odd thing about it was that they didn't Google for baby names. They Googled specific baby names to try to find one that formed a unique combination with their last name so it would be easier for someone to Google him later in life.
This was due to the problems the mother encountered in her professional life. As a researcher who published papers that lent credibility to her opinion, when people wanted to know if she was worth listening to, they'd Google her. As the combination of her first and last name wasn't too common, it was easy for them to find results that helped her credibility. But then she married a guy whose last name was Wilson and took his name. When people Googled her under her married name, she became buried in a sea of results for women with the same name. Finding results that were directly related to her was nearly impossible, and her professional life became more challenging.
Google reports back 202 million results for the search term "John Smith" and they're about many, many John Smiths, ranging from the historical John Smith of colonial times to a Gonzaga University professor. For my name, it reports back just under 84,000 and they're almost all about me in some way, shape, or form.
I'm lucky enough to have an uncommon last name and my religious tradition forbids naming a child after a living relative. So this isn't a practice my wife and I will be engaging in with our next kid; not because we don't see the value in it, but because with my last name, we really don't need to. We can guarantee that his or her name will either be unique or limited to a maximum of maybe one or two of very distant relatives.
But if your last name is Smith or Johnson or Wilson... it's not unreasonable to think about unique first names for your child to ensure that he or she is easily Googled later in life when they're in the professional world.
Now, in one way this is a good thing. Child names run in trends and a single popular name can end up given to tens of thousands of babies over the course of a single year. Google-aware naming of children would create more diversity. On the other hand, you're search engine optimizing your kid. It's one of those things that's sensible when you think about it, but totally ridiculous on the surface.
So, whaddaya think? Sensible, ridiculous, or both? That's what the comments area below is for.