Google is fluid and ever changing. It’s always trying to improve itself. Yes, I’m talking about it like it’s a thing. It’s The Blob.
The way Google works in the now is not necessarily the way it worked in the before.
For example, one day I noticed that entering certain words would provoke a dictionary response on the top of search results.
Response: a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.
Hey. Thanks, Google. That’s kind of sort of useful if I’m in the mood for a dictionary type response. A little down-arrow is included so the box can be expanded to see things like additional definitions, word origin, translations, and even a cute little chart of “usage over time.”
Then, yesterday, I decided to try the function again, this time for the word “interstellar.”
My God. It’s full of commercials.
The dictionary box was gone. Almost like it never existed. In its place was a box entitled Showtimes. Yes, that’s right, Google. Good job. Interstellar is also the name of a movie. You figured it out.
The right side of the page was also transformed. What used to be blank space was now essentially a big advertising poster for the movie. There’s a thumbnail photo, a series of reviews (it really is full of stars) and other info about the movie. A way to jump to posts on Google+ was thoughtfully provided, thumbnails of the cast and, last but not least, a section called “People also search for.” (This last one I like to call Who Gives A Shit?)
Very interesting, of course, except for that fact that none of this was what I actually wanted. Google excels at this.
I carefully checked the rest of the page. Perhaps tucked away in a corner of the screen there’d be a way to ask for the dictionary? Nope. Nothing.
It was almost as if the dictionary box had been erased. From existence. And magically replaced with Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise Casino. Great Scott! This is heavy!
So what happened? Just like that alternate timeline (which Marty and Doc eventually repaired) Big Daddy Google has come up with a clever system of analyzing words based on money.
The proprietary Google algorithm looks something like this:
is search term a big money word, something that can be sold
if yes, show results_monetized()
if no and it’s a dictionary word show the dictionary_box() followed by results()
if no and it’s not a dictionary word, show our bastardized rip of a wikipedia entry followed by results() including a link to the real wikipedia page
I know this is complicated programmer-style pseudocode but that’s essentially how it works.
Sooner or later this will happen to every word in the English language dictionary and Google will cease to be a valid source of information and will exist only as a shill, much like a carnival barker on the midway. This process is known as the google stomp. Given enough time Google will have about the same meaning as a highway billboard that advises, “Eat at Joe’s.”
Spend $120 on a game and you just might win a piece of crap made in China that’s worth fifty cents. That’s a Google-sized bargain. This is our inevitable future.
Technology and continuous improvement. Is there anything better? Kaizen!
A single gold star for me
The human race needed to survive so groups of individuals formed organizational units called “companies” that were then used to fuck everyone else. Viola! Stratification, and it was good.
Sure, not everyone survived or ended up better off but that was the whole point, wasn’t it?
Now a Virginia court has given companies just a bit more power. Yeah.
You’ve heard about Yelp? It’s one of the few places where disgruntled customers can strike back when they’ve been wronged.
The war between reviewers and companies is an old one. It turns out that businesses don’t like being criticized. In the old days reviewing was an actual profession and people were hired by newspapers to perform that function. In one case a food critic reported seeing an open can of beans in the kitchen in a restaurant that purported to only use fresh ingredients.
The restaurant flipped their lid.
Continue reading →
Testing my resolve
“They” say that 80% of us will fail on our New Year’s resolutions. I like those odds so count me in!
Of course, one of mine was to get a post about resolutions up by Jan. 1. Oops. Missed it!
Personally I think waiting for a date on a calendar to try to make a change is a bit silly. If you want to improve something, go ahead and do it now. Why wait?
On the other hand, the first day of the year is a very easy day to remember. It will help you with one of the principles of Kaizen – namely, if you measure something it will improve. “How long has it been since I bit someone’s throat? Oh yeah, New Year’s Day. Now I remember!”
Before I pontificate further let’s do a little exercise together, shall we?
Grab a sheet of paper and write down your list of this year’s resolutions. No fair peeking ahead to find out what comes next! In fact, I’m going to do the jump thingy to enforce compliance. Fill out your sheet then click to continue reading.