I used to Google myself every so often. (Tell me you haven't done it.) I don't know what I was ever expecting to see or find, but it's something I'd do. Usually all the sites Google found would be my own websites (...surprise!), or posts I'd made on message boards, or messages I'd left on websites' guestbooks.
But as the internet expanded, the pool of Molly Pattons got bigger. Apparently, there are a bunch of us. I've stumbled across the pages of a lot of girls who are younger than I am, plus a plethora of old ladies' obituaries, ladies who were christened Mary but were called Molly, then (I assume) married a Patton. So, before long, my Google searches became even more pointless. I might find one page that was mine, and everything else was other Mollys.
However, recently I decided to Google the name of my book, because I was curious about where it might be being seen or whatever. And I came across a blog whose name is the same as my book title. But here's the fun part: the blog's owner had referenced my book in a 2012 post in which she(?), half-jokingly(??) suggests(???) I stole the title of that blog for my book title, or, at the very least, didn't do my homework and properly Google the title beforehand, to make sure it wasn't being used by, you know, someone's... blog.
And it's funny, because, actually... I did Google it! I Googled it back in 2003 when the title of the novel came to me. Then, because I liked it, it stuck, and I wasn't going to keep Googling it year after year, going "Oh gee, I hope no one else has taken it!" I had it and I liked it, so I went with it for the next seven years till I finally put it out in the world. During that time, a TV show came out called South Of Nowhere, and that kind of gave me pause, but I decided it was different enough, and so I continued with my plans.
Fun fact: titles are actually one thing you can't copyright here in the U.S. Which means someone else could write a novel and name it the same thing as mine and I couldn't do a thing about it.
I couldn't find a way to leave a comment on that person's blog, though. Not that I felt it needed a response. I didn't do anything wrong, and I have physical proof that JSON's been the title of my book since 2004, when I took my first writing workshop. In the scheme of things, I suppose it really doesn't matter. But I guess -- like Anne with an e -- I don't enjoy being falsely accused. :(
It may be interesting to note, in the future, that JSON's sequel's planned full title -- which I hesitate to divulge yet, but whose acronym is SSFS -- yields exactly zero Google results. But will that still be true in a few* years when I finally finish it?
On a related note, I was going through my journals yesterday and was recalling the saga of he-who-shall-not-be-named, this kid I had an Internet War with over the summer of '98. We both had online fan clubs for the same TV show, and he would constantly accuse me of "stealing" his ideas for newsletters. Ideas such as "trivia" and "member profiles." He was always threatening to sue. If he hadn't been IN MIDDLE SCHOOL I don't know what I would've done.
I love you, Internet.
*= and by "few" I mean more like 79.8