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Meanwhile, on the Internet
Tribune Reporters
'Meanwhile' is a collaborative blog about all the crazy stuff on the Internet. Here, reporters from various Tribune desks tell you what you (almost) need to know about topics ranging from technology to YouTube sensations. Contributors: Michael McFall, Dave Newlin, Matt Piper, Brennan Smith, Erin Alberty. Edited by Sheena McFarland.

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Heartwarming Google ad shows old friends coming together

It can be easy to forget how miraculous the Internet really is, especially with a steady stream of news about spying, privacy violations and the like. But the video above is here to remind us: the web can bring people together.

The video is an ad from Google — yes, I know Google has pretty much abandoned its "don’t be evil" mantra at this point — and is genuinely heartwarming. It tells the story of two old men in India and Pakistan who years ago were childhood friends. The men used to play together as boys but were separated by the Partition and drifted apart.

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You can probably guess where this is going, but to avoid spoilers I’ll leave it at this: Google helps break down barriers.

For most companies, this sort of tug-at-the-heartstrings ad would be all bluster. But Google, despite its problems, is such a fundamental part of the modern Internet that this isn’t really very far fetched. In fact, I suspect most of us have probably reconnected with a long-lost friend or family member on the Internet, which might not have been possible without Google or the precedents Google sets.

And in case that’s all a little too touchy-feely for you, watch carefully as the young woman types her search terms about 38 seconds in; Google’s autofill feature suggests several odd choices, the funniest of which is probably "south park episode with ancient aliens." Thanks, Google.

— Jim Dalrymple II

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