opening it up with Common Lisp
Book review: Darwinia
Summer reading: Spin
the Omnivoire's Delimma
the Golem's Eye
Google is continually finding new uses for its vast database of hyperlinked text: spelling, mapping, definitions and so on. Terrance Brooks (who has, I assume, no relation to fantasy author Terry Brooks!) points out that Google makes use of lay indexing (i.e., folksonomies) to produce aggregations with semantic content -- meanings! Similar lay indexing lies behinds Amazon's book suggestions, Flickr's photo-sharing and del.icio.us's bookmark collections. In all these cases, however, a tension develops between the aggregator's algorithmic strategies and user's attempts to exploit that the strategies: spam. Each publisher would like to push Google towards her contents but Google only functions well when it can exploit the wisdom of crowds - i.e., when control is based on diversity. All of these system, then, are fundamentally social and can function when most people play "by the rules" either because they want to or because they have no other choice. Brooks says:
The internet is new because it is 'open': anyone (in the technological world) can author anything and declare its meaning. It is:
Most formal systems (e.g., Dublin Core, RDF, meta tags) ignore this dictum and are therefore ignored by Google!
Since, like most people, I'm the sort of person who usually does the right thing, I think that Brook's paper provides an interesting perspective on lay indexing, Google and the differing strategies they adapt. It would be fun to pull in the whole evolutionary games perspective (perhaps someone already has?!).
Copyright -- Gary Warren King, 2004 - 2006