To be a fly on the wall at Google Me meetings… Listening to engineers try to reverse engineer people into an easily searchable, sortable form.
Here’s what I how I imagine the project has progressed:
- A worker realized that Google knows most everything about all of us anyway and organized personal data into a automatically generated profile.
- A team was tasked to turn this into a product. They set out to create an ‘Auto-Facebook’: sign in, confirm which of the individuals with your name is actually you, and all your information is automatically pulled into a profile.
- Lots of people test this at Google and most love it. They theorize that this product is a Facebook-killer since its profiles are the result of actual action, not user statements (since people are notoriously inaccurate).
- The product is pitched to the top brass with the set up, “Don’t you find it difficult to succinctly describe yourself and what you do when asked point blank? …”
- Someone realizes that this perhaps even creepier than Street View. His or her concerns are dismissed when someone cites Facebook’s growth despite their privacy issues.
And soon it will launch!
Ian Bogost suggests a new term.
Trying to pin language to new devices and usage is like nailing Jello to a wall. Usage may vary, and there’re are a lot of tricks an engineer may grasp that are functionally invisible to the user.
Plus, the term ‘multitasking’ is a bit odd for a mobile device. Given the screen size, true multitasking is guaranteed to not occur 99% of the time for 99% of users, under the best of conditions.
Despite this, people want multitasking. At least they want the word, whether or not they want the function is another matter entirely. In the last 2 years, I’ve surveyed and focus-grouped prospective smartphone buyers in several cities. Multitasking was overwhelmingly desired, but when people were pressed to describe why the wanted multitasking or what they would use it for they couldn’t elaborate.
The only answer I ever received was background audio, a fine feature indeed (one I’m thrilled to have in the updated MLB app) but hardly full-fledged multitasking.
After watching the USA lose to Ghana, I’m placing my bets regarding
soccer’s football’s soccer’s popularity in the USA. I believe it’s not going to catch on, mostly because of that damn clock.
Many will be optimistic, but in the end we’re not going to care. Pundits will blame the bad calls or the loss to Ghana. I blame the clock.
The clock counting upwards would be bad enough, but when combined with penalty time audiences have only a rough idea of when the game is actually over. In America–-for better or for worse–-that’s not going to fly. We want buzzer-beaters. We want games won when the chips are tangibly down, not just late goals. Sure, Baseball might not have a clock either, but even then games aren’t over when a ref looks at their watch and decide enough time has passed.
Without an impartial clock, we lose drama that the lowest common denominator can understand. The person stumbling into the room with nothing vested in the game can see the score change right before the clock runs out. The athlete beating the other team isn’t as obvious as the athlete beating the clock. You don’t need to know the history of the Lakers and Celtics to gather the drama if the seconds are running out. Without a countdown clock, Americans need to grasp soccer first before they’re rewarded. And my bet is we’re not going to work for our entertainment.
A new word to describe the post-data plan human. The Simbiont’s ever-present connection to the internet allows them to offload human responsibilities like memory, guidance, and amusement to an electronic device.