Category: Uncategorized

A tale of 10,000,000 books

Here is a blog post by Googles Sergey Brin about the Google Book project.

While a great history lesson about how and when social web began, but I think it doesnt go far enough in detailing the possibilities and the aftershocks. Granted the video is from 2006, but one can imagine that some things were obviously coming down the pipe. We only have to look at the digitization of libraries around the world. All that static information is being made available to anyone who cares to view it. Never before in history has such a wealth of culture and knowledge been available to so many. In history the greatest loss to the progress of mankind was the destruction of the library at Alexandria, now millions of books will never meet that fate, and even more interesting is what is already happening to these books. New readers, people finding old favorites, developers finding new methods of interacting with the texts. For the first time in thousands of years the lines between media formats are blurring. Now when one reads a book there will be links built right into the text to songs, pictures, names, videos. I see the lines blurring so much that it wont matter how you comment on something, the technology will turn everything into video, audio, and text automatically. The original meaning and intention of a statement will last so much longer. It will help citizens hold their politicians accountable for their statements and promises. Lets face it the world needs more accountability. Of course there will also be a need to update the laws to protect the sanctity of data. Democracy cannot survive without a tight hold of the truth and the independence of data from politics and intrigue. No one person is so important that they should be able to dictate what is true and false. Hopefully this generation will be able to adapt to the consequences of this revolution and create a bright future.

This article hails from the early days of web 2.0 when every blogger and journalist was using it like they used “jiggy with it”. It explains the big terms associated with web 2.0 for the laymen. I think this should be republished in some newspapers and magazines so that more people will begin to understand what the techies are blathering about. It is in the interest of all of us that everyone possible should be accessing and sharing their thoughts and ideas. I think it would help many people to know that they are not alone in their beliefs and interests. It also allows people to challenge themselves mentally, sometimes shedding light on a misconception bringing that person to a better understanding of themselves and their beliefs. Personally I can look back at the person I was in 2004-5 and see what has changed about me. How much better I see the world, how I shed some naiveté as I learned more about how the world worked, what to expect from people. I have had wonderful conversations with people from all walks of life discussing politics, philosophy, music. Definitely my music collection has grown in the past few years as the ability to recommend videos and music is as easy as clicking a button and sharing a link on facebook, email, or some random forum. Another thing I really enjoy about web 2.o applications and services is the humor that abounds. Creative people using old media or creating new stuff that alludes to something else to poke fun, or make a point, even better is that its so easy to follow the bread crumbs to the original and then discover some gem of history.

This article starts in the 70s with Usenet and quickly goes into the late 90s. Its interesting to see how people have glommed onto these networks to share their ideas and creations as well as pour derision on what is shared. The conversations in these forums range from comical to abusive, creative to destructive, supportive to derisive. Social media in my opinion allows people to show more of their true selves without worrying about social morays in their immediate social group, this can be a freeing experience as so many of us seem to wear masks in our public life, hiding what we consider others to look down upon. Social media or web 2.0 brings people together and allows individuals and groups to create new cultures, share ideas and knowledge in such an incredibly easy way. What is even better is that it keeps getting better, easier to do so. Even the US government is getting in on web 2.0, Obamas digital information czar is doing an admirable job in dragging all the government data to the forefront so that taxpayers can actually view and find a use for the data that our taxes help pay to generate. What I am thankful for is that the information and services are being kept free, monetized simply by innocuous ads. One could argue that the socialized web is a huge evolutionary step for humanity, socially and developmentally. Its not amazingly easy to make new friends or mentors around the world, to have someone to confide in, to argue with, to learn from. Traditionally it has been mans fault that we fear what we do not know, now we dont have to fear the unknown because we have access and the ability to learn about other cultures, to talk with those people in their own language because the computers can automatically translate for us. Breaking down the barriers that separate people brings us all closer together, making it harder to turn a blind eye to another persons plight. And that much easier to help those in need.

Making this content searchable is going to do much for bringing people the information they are seeking. Its obvious that content on flash and AJAX sites should be indexed, some really great creative sites are done in flash and AJAX, but one would never know about the content that may be extremely well written and invaluable.