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February 19, 2003

Google+Blogger = Memex?

memex machine Interesting notes from Matt Webb and Ben Hammersley on what it might mean to combine Blogger with Google � is this a big plan to build the Memex (as described by Vannevar Bush in 1945)? Certainly could be, as blogging is a form of distributed annotation. Don't know however if they will be able to achieve the cool desktop interface as originally envisioned.

An interesting view on this from this story by Larry Page (via boingboing) about how they began Google as a way to annotate the web, and they ended up building a search engine as a side effect:

"It wasn't that we intended to build a search engine. We built a ranking system to deal with annotations. We wanted to annotate the web - build a system so that after you'd viewed a page you could click and see what smart comments other people had about it. But how do you decide who gets to annotate Yahoo? We needed to figure out how to choose which annotations people should look at, which meant that we needed to figure out which other sites contained comments we should classify as authoritative."
19 Feb 03 09:25 AM


Raymond Pirouz says:

All this talk of memeing and annotating (the web)'s getting WAY too geeky and out of control.

As it is, the power of the web is only being utilized by such a small minority that -- if we continue down this road of loving the tech for the sake of the tech -- we're going to be left with only the most hard-core, anti-people, anti-social, introverted and "geek-snob" folk around running things. It's a threat to the very promise of the web. The point is to simplify, not to overcomplicate!!!

I say there needs to be a movement AWAY from more geek/tech talk for the sake of itself. The only way the Internet is ever going to be used by "regular" people is if they don't need a slide rule to understand how to use it.

It's interesting to see (from my vantage point anyway) the "devolution" of the focus of Macromedia (and the web in general) from "UI/Experiences" to the embracement and talk of "low level technologies". I fear that the lower you go, the wider the gap between developer and user will become.

Just an observation.

Isn't there a way to balance the two without losing focus of one or the other?

Posted by: Raymond Pirouz on 19 Feb 03 11:12 AM

Todd says:

I would have expected something like Google + Blogger = Bloogle? :)

Posted by: Todd on 19 Feb 03 11:31 AM

Frank Ruscica says:

Google + Blogger = Go_Ogle, the Mother of All Online Dating Sites

Here's how I think it will happen:

First, Google will improve the searchability of the "blogosphere" by making it easy for bloggers to append a file containing information about themselves and their blogger friends. This information will be encoded in an RDF dialect called FOAF (Friend of a Friend).

Soon after, it will start to dawn on people that the FOAF file is effectively a static online profile, while the associated blog is akin to a living profile (in the 'living document' sense).

One tipping (i.e. inflection) point later, usage of Google by date seekers will grow to an such extent that our (grand)children will read about it in their history texts. Online dating is at 26M users and growing, after all.

Google will then acquire the best RDF query toolmakers and launch Go_Ogle, the mother of all online dating sites.

Once Go_Ogle is in place, the possibilities are absolutely mind-googling :^)

More on this, including a pointer to foundational code for GPLed Go_Ogle, at



Frank Ruscica

The Opportunity Services Group :: Have Fun to Get Ready

Posted by: Frank Ruscica on 19 Feb 03 12:22 PM

John Dowdell says:

Another way of finding useful things is described in NewsMonster's "Reputation Manager" page today:

(Raymond, my own take is that geeks and normals can work together... geeks speak in idiosyncratic ways, but if they turn up useful things then there are pressures to make it more accessible to a wider range of people. Lots of humans use Google's page-rank mechanism even though they don't know how it works, for instance.)

Posted by: John Dowdell on 19 Feb 03 01:06 PM

Kevin Lynch says:

Guilty as charged, there are definitely a number of geeks at Macromedia, myself included I suppose, but we like to think of ourselves as user-centered experience geeks! We are living with a tension between the underlying technologies and what the user experiences, where the technology continues to shift quickly and mostly without direct regard to the end user. I see part of our job here making a connection between these things, and approaching these topics from the user's point of view first.

I don't think the concept of annotations are tech for tech's sake however -- the whole shift to popularity of blogs is driven by end user desire to contribute their thoughts and remark on other content, just as we're doing here :)

We're actually working harder to bring the conversation back to user-centered discussion rather than the protocol-dominated topics that the industry is obessed with (and we've certainly been a contributor to technology focused discussion, I agree!). You'll be seeing more from us along these lines, particularly from the "information convenience" teams.

Posted by: Kevin Lynch on 19 Feb 03 10:12 PM

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