Friday, May 18, 2012

Hell is other people's search results

As long as customers are still using Google to surprise themselves with unfamiliar information, there will be a busy team of elves in Mountain View HQ tinkering with the search algorithm so that the results will be based on what other people from your geographical location and with your consumer history have looked for in the past. This is why an increasing number of dissidents are changing their names to 'Substance McGravitas' and choosing to search through the Latvian Google.

Rupert Sheldrake (right), discoverer
of Morphogenetic Fields, good smoked
or roasted with rosemary stuffing

The big concern here at Riddled, however, is whether in their unsleeping quest to protect you all from novelty, Google have filched the technology behind the Morphogenetic Field Flux Intensifier.

A great boon
Let the record show that the motives behind the Flux Intensifier were always noble and pure. "It will be a great boon to the narrative world," said Another Kiwi, "ensuring that events happen in the order and with the causality that readers expect from stories they have read before."

"It will ensure that alternative history streams will include characters who are recognisable versions of familiar figures from our own history," I said. "Cross-reality resonances blah blah blah."

Traditionally authors have relied on Narrativium to provide the coincidences and motifs that keep their plots running smoothly along the standard plot tramlines. But of course the supplies are limited. The rising price of Narrativium is forcing it out of the reach of all but established authors, forcing newcomers to rely upon plotlessness or post-modernism.

Anyway, if you never hear any more about the tests of the Flux Intensifier here at Riddled Research Laboratory, that will be conclusive proof that it worked, and that the prototype was immediately stolen in an act of industrial espionage -- or bought out by entrenched interests from the Narrativium industry who suppressed it to avoid competition. This always happens... it must be a tradition, or an old charter or something.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

This is all fluxxed up.

H. Rumbold, Master Barber said...

We call it "soccer" in the USA.

vacuumslayer said...

All very boring. NOW. What do you get when you search for Pokemon Hentai Rugby here and in New Zealand?

Substance McGravitas said...

Latvia is still pretty good. Can't remember a single thing that I can identify as some Latvian obsession. Mind you I'm not searching for rugby. One thing I worry about is that the individual catalogs are going to wind up as different items.

Substance McGravitas said...

When asked why a New Zealand search for a generic English language service such as a phone directory or government department returns Australia's Yellow Pages or Britain's Transport Department, Mr Huffman concedes Google could be doing better.


mikey said...

Smithers winced and crouched even lower with the next explosion, only a dozen meters to his left. At the rate the rounds were falling, Smithers calculated the Belgians had three mortars in action, and it was only a matter of time...

"How's the ham?" asked Wesley. "Lovely", Smithers replied, sipping some of the rich red wine. "The glaze is simply spot on" he gushed. Wesley smiled. "You know, old man, it's always a pleasure, enjoying a civilized meal with you..."

"We should really do this more often", Smithers told the smiling Conglese prostitute as she helped him un-lace the leather restraints. "Call for appointment anytime you want suh" she answered in her pleasant singsong tones...

"I'm dreadfully sorry son, but I'm completely tied up the entire week. I'll send something nice and perhaps we can attend a Rugby match wen I return". Smithers sniffed, trying very hard not to cry while his father was on the phone. "I understand, father. I'll have many more birthdays than just fourteen..."

Oh dear. I'm afraid I'm going to need some Narrativium. It seems to be a bit of an emergency...

Smut Clyde said...

I knew you'd like the bit at the end of the linked story, where the Google flak proudly explains that Google is turning the WWW into Borges' Book of Sand, so if you don't bookmark something it will never find it for you a second time.

A few years ago Google tested this theory, taking 1000 random queries on January 1 and saving the results. They ran the same 1000 questions on December 31 and polled their staff on what percentage of results they thought would come back the same.

Apart from Facebook and a handful of other search results remaining static, Mr Huffman says the outcome was amazing.

"It turns out just about every result was different."

Replicability is for lusers.

M. Bouffant said...

an increasing number of dissidents are changing their names to 'Substance McGravitas'
Yezzz, yezzz, we are all Substance now!

Substance McGravitas said...

See, if there was a Google Falkland Islands you could have a nice English interface and get no local results. Mind you a guess a bunch would be British telephone directories.

Did a little playing the other day with choosing different Google domains and you still seem to be able to get the same amount of results, they're just shuffled around a lot.

Smut Clyde said...

I imagine the search-history cookies would all be accessible to all the different Goggle domains. But you don't let them stay on your computers, do you?

Substance McGravitas said...

At home I have all sorts of blocking going on, so when I switch domains Google doesn't seem to remember anything about me. I'll have to check the machine at work, which I leave wide open to all manner of evils.