Do you want Google to tell you what you should be doing? Mr. Schmidt thinks so:
"More and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type. I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions," he elaborates. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next. ... serendipity—can be calculated now. We can actually produce it electronically."
Of course the problem with algorithms is they rely on prior experience to guide you. The won't tell you to do something unique & original that can change the world, rather they will lead you down a well worn path.
What are some of the most bland and most well worn paths in the world? Established brands:
The internet is fast becoming a "cesspool" where false information thrives, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said yesterday. Speaking with an audience of magazine executives visiting the Google campus here as part of their annual industry conference, he said their brands were increasingly important signals that content can be trusted.
"Brands are the solution, not the problem," Mr. Schmidt said. "Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."
"Brand affinity is clearly hard wired," he said. "It is so fundamental to human existence that it's not going away. It must have a genetic component."
If Google is so smart then why the lazy reliance on brand? Why not show me something unique & original & world-changing?
Does brand affinity actually have a hard wired genetic component? Or is it that computers are stupid & brands have many obvious signals associated with them: one of which typically being a large ad budget. And why has Google's leading search engineer complained about the problem of "brand recognition" recently?
While Google is collecting your data and selling it off to marketers, they have also thought of other ways to monetize that data and deliver serendipity:
"One day we had a conversation where we figured we could just try and predict the stock market..." Eric Schmidt continues, "and then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that."
Any guess how that product might have added value to the world? On down days (or days when you search for "debt help") would Google deliver more negatively biased ads & play off fears more, while on up days selling more euphoric ads? Might that serendipity put you on the wrong side of almost every trade you make? After all, that is how the big names in that space make money - telling you to take the losing side of a trade with bogus "research."
Eric Schmidt asks who you would rather give access to this data:
“All this information that you have about us: where does it go? Who has access to that?” (Google servers and Google employees, under careful rules, Schmidt said.) “Does that scare everyone in this room?” The questioner asked, to applause. “Would you prefer someone else?” Schmidt shot back – to laughter and even greater applause. “Is there a government that you would prefer to be in charge of this?”
That exchange helped John Gruber give Eric Schmidt the label Creep Executive Officer, while asking: "Maybe the question isn’t who should hold this information, but rather should anyone hold this information."
"I think judgement matters. If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," - Eric Schmidt
Which is why the blog of a certain mistress disappeared from the web. And, of course, since this post is on a blog, it doesn't matter:
If you're ever confused as to the value of newspaper editors, look at the blog world. That's all you need to see. - Eric Schmdit
Here is the thing I don't get about Google's rhetorical position on serendipity & moral authority: if they are to be trusted to recommend what you do, then why do they recommend illegal activities like pirating copyright works via warez, keygens, cracks & torrents?
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