Sunday, August 03, 2008

Strange loops: Google custom and customized search - and a memory blog

This is a strange loop story.

It began unremarkably. I was finding my own blog posts when I searched on various topics. I felt a bit chuffed -- the GGG (great god google) liked my sacrifices. Often I chose my own posts; since I write in part to extend intracranial memory they worked for me.

Then things got odd. I was getting back more and more of my own results -- often at the very top of a search. GGG likes me alright -- but not that much.

Around the same time, as I discovered new ways to use search against my extended and interconnected memory, I changed my home page to my Google custom search page. Using this page my blog search results were not sorted by date, but rather by GGG assigned value -- the "best" posts came first. Now my extended memories were being organized by Google, searches were more effective, and I leveraged more of my old posts.

The Solipsistic Strange Loop was strengthening, for I was seeing Google's customized search results. The combination of my Google Custom Search Page, my extracorporeal memories (blogs), my use of Google's web history, my location information and my default digital identity have been building a recursive loop of public-private interconnectivity.

As a fringe benefit these web-of-one searches are making a mess of sleazy search engine optimization hacks. It's hard enough to game one set of search results -- really hard to game millions of different result sets.

Where will it go next?

My iPhone lets me take geo-tagged pictures, and it lets me bookmark my location. Inevitably I'll be able to combine the images, locations, time stamps and annotations, and weave them into my extended memory. Custom search means they'll live in a neural network that merges into the GGG metamind.

Interesting times.

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