For people with embarrassing incidents in their past, Google can be a nightmare, as it's become the closest thing there is to an individual's "permanent record". But people whose pasts are fairly clean can have the opposite problem: their Google permanent record gets lost among everyone else who shares their name. This is particularly hard on the John Smiths of the world, who have to compete with thousands of others to receive a prominent listing on the search engine. This also effects people who change their name due to marriage, as a lifetime of electronic references aren't attached to their new name. Parents have even begun using Google before they name their baby, to make sure that the name they choose doesn't have too much online competition. If that practice were to become more widespread, it may force the Freakonomics guys to revisit their theories on baby naming, and the idea that parents intentionally latch onto popular names associated with elite classes. Instead, the moment a name starts to get even remotely popular (or crowded), parents will start searching for something new.
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