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  • seandodson 9:03 am on September 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , location, lunch, search   

    Just downloaded Google Mobile, which was surprisingly easy to do from the fixed-line internet. Once downloaded it (takes five seconds) your internet searches on your phone default to its current location. Works brilliantly for me. I’m already planning my lunch.

    • sos datenrettung 9:04 am on August 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
      sos datenrettung http://www.sos-datenrettung.com/

  • seandodson 2:01 pm on May 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , monoculture, mountain view, netflix, recommender systems, search, tom slee   

    Google is the mountain and we are staring at the peak 

    castles1I’ve been thinking a lot about this essay by Tom Slee. He writes about how the very tools that help us navigate the web are the very things that drive everyone towards the same locations. He uses a useful topological analogy, stating that the recommender systems, like Digg and Netflix and Amazon, allow everyone to see the most popular material out there: “customers can see further,” he argues “but they are all looking at the same hilltop.”

     “Online merchants such as Amazon, iTunes and Netflix may stock more items than your local book, CD, or video store, but they are no friend to “niche culture”. Internet sharing mechanisms such as YouTube and Google PageRank, which distill the clicks of millions of people into recommendations, may also be promoting an online monoculture. Even word of mouth recommendations such as blogging links may exert a homogenizing pressure and lead to an online culture that is less democratic and less equitable, than offline culture.”

    The trouble he argues is that in staring at the peak we often miss material that is nearer to us.

    But for me this paradox extends beyond recommender systems, reaching right into the heart of the internet itself. For what is a list of Google search results other than a mountain of indexed content with the first page or results representing the peak? The point being that although Google does try to weave a degree of immediacy into its search results, most people just bother to look at the summit of the search, ignoring the other material located further down the slope.

    Of course nobody want to return to the days before Google made the mountain scalable in the first place. But we should be aware that the more successful it becomes the more monocultural the internet is likely to become. There may be more content out there, but increasingly most of us are seeing the same things which creates the opposite of diversity.

    This monoculture of content then re-inforces itself as the material that finds its way to the top of Googles list and on to the likes of Digg and Facebook and Delicious et al, like successful football teams, the longer they stay at the top of the league, the more powerful and rich they become.

    There are of course different ways to scale the mountain. Google’s advanced search option, for instance, allows you to filter your searches so that you can search for content uploaded only today, or only this week or only this month. Searching this way at least makes it easier to find content that is less established, but potentially more interesting.

    I love its software and much of my life is in some way governed by it. But it has become so successful, so powerful, that its difficult to see over it. Maybe that’s why they set up office in hills northwest of San Francisco. In a little place called Mountain View.


    * The image above is by Jon Klassen. You can buy a print here

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  • seandodson 10:29 pm on September 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , isle of wight, martin parr, , search,   

    On holiday with Martin Parr 

    If you have ever wanted to go on holiday with Martin Parr, the celebrated English photographer, now is your chance. This weekend the School of Life is offering a two-day break on the Isle of Wight in the company of the sardonic snapper. Parr has described the Isle of Wight as a “living theme park, like stepping back into an England of 20 or 30 years ago.”

    Staying in Parr’s favourite seaside hotel, you get to join him for visits to the Brighstone holiday centre, the Needles, Ventnor beach and other “landmarks of the Isle of Wight tourism scene.” According to the press release, you will get a chance to discuss his photography as well as his collections of souvenirs and postcards, and “train your eye to see the ugliness in beauty and the horror in leisure.”

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  • seandodson 9:50 pm on June 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , beta, , iTunes, search, search me, searchme.com, , zooomi   

    Searchme.com: New search engine allows you look for websites visually 

    Search Me is the coolest thing in search that I’ve seen in years. Taking its cue from the most recent versions of iTunes, it displays web pages as if they were record sleeves and then allows you to quickly flick through them as you would a rack of vinyl in a shop. This is so smart because it is an intuitive way to look for things, especially if you know what you are looking for but can’t quite remember where you last saw it. I think we are going to see a lot more of this “natural” form of search in the years to come.

    There’s already the recently launched servic Zoomi:  a virtual shop that looks and behaves like a bookshop (you browse books held on a shelf). but is really just a front for Amazon. Great, if you genuinely want to browse.

  • seandodson 11:13 am on June 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: artificial intelligence, , , , knowledge, nicholas carr, , search, search engine   

    Nicholas Carr: Is Google making you stupid? 

    I don’t think so, but it could be changing the way we all think. Nicholas Carr, who is something of a Google-baiter, is more worried and has penned a thought-provoking essay on the subject over at The Atlantic. I knew he was on to something when, although i was deeply interested in the article, I felt like clicking away before finishing the third paragraph.

    I resisted temptation and felt all the better for it.

    Here’s a taste for those of you so deep in the throes of Google-induced stupor that you can’t get any further:

    “The Net’s influence doesn’t end at the edges of a computer screen … As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media, traditional media have to adapt to the audience’s new expectations. Television programs add text crawls and pop-up ads, and magazines and newspapers shorten their articles, introduce capsule summaries, and crowd their pages with easy-to-browse info-snippets. When, in March of this year, The New York Times decided to devote the second and third pages of every edition to article abstracts, its design director, Tom Bodkin, explained that the “shortcuts” would give harried readers a quick “taste” of the day’s news, sparing them the “less efficient” method of actually turning the pages and reading the articles. Old media have little choice but to play by the new-media rules.

    “Never has a communications system played so many roles in our lives—or exerted such broad influence over our thoughts—as the Internet does today. Yet, for all that’s been written about the Net, there’s been little consideration of how, exactly, it’s reprogramming us. The Net’s intellectual ethic remains obscure.”

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