Google is celebrating its 13th birthday Tuesday with a cake-themed Google Doodle. Click on the image, and Google will reveal something truly extraordinary: Google's search results for the word "Google."
Until now, it was widely assumed that Googling "Google" would cause Google's servers to get bogged down in a vicious circle that would rapidly cascade through the entire Internet, creating a recursion paradox that would ultimately cause data centers around the world to spectacularly explode.
But apparently that doesn't actually happen. Instead, those who Google "Google" will simply get the search results for "Google," just as they would had they Googled any other word or phrase.
This would have been rather useful information for technology journalists, especially those on deadline trying to search for information about the company using phrases like "a certain search giant," "you-know-what," and "that thing you really shouldn't type in this box lest you destroy the entire Internet."
Apparently Google has developed a number of safeguards to prevent such catastrophic failure. The company is famously secretive about its inner workings, but we can assume that these precautions involve deploying an artificial intelligence so advanced that it can appreciate the limits of its own computational logic. Other precautions probably involve not wiring explosives to its servers.
While Google's demonstration of stability in the face of infinite regress will no doubt have a wide impact, it is currently difficult to measure this impact on social networking platforms, which are running slowly today after some jerk tried to friend himself on Facebook.