You know when you get a sudden whim to find out what someone’s doing nowadays? Well, I had that very whim regarding a German boy who I did a school exchange with in the 1980s. My Schüleraustauschpartner, as the Germans would say.
But his name produced rather vague results, so I dragged my only photo of him into Google Images to see if he appeared. The idea is that Google recognises the image and generates identical or similar ones.
What I didn’t expect was a pile of images of ……… German president Angela Merkel. No-one else. Just Angela.
Google had no way of knowing my exchange partner was German. It was just an image. No metadata apart from a random number.
It couldn’t be, could it, that Angela was once a teenage boy living in Baden-Württemberg??? Could it?
Well, she claims to be from Hamburg. But her father did study in Heidelberg (in Baden-Württemberg) which is very near to the hometown of my school exchange partner.
Angela wasn’t into politics in those days. She was actually very musical. She played the French Horn. And she was called Felix.