Friday, July 29, 2011

How does it feel

Posted By on 07.29.11 at 04:37 PM

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One topic in my mental pile of rejects for our weekly How To feature is this: how to endlessly amuse yourself by seeing how Google automatically fills out your search phrases—sure bets include "what does it feel like to," for instance, and similarly open-ended queries. (A friend once tried to use this mechanism to remember the key word in the phrase "Opinions are like . . .," a query for which four current suggestions are testicles, kittens, belly buttons, and rap careers. At least two of those make sense.) This one's a reject, of course, because everybody knows about it, and also because the process is pretty much self-explanatory. Still, considered as a reflection of what—some other people?—are thinking about, it's entertaining and occasionally illuminating, as Nishant Batsha points out today in an essay on "existential Googling."

There's a lot of Internet out there, writes Batsha. And people search for some pretty heady shit! "It should come as no surprise then that, with this amount of data sitting on our desktops, nestled away in our pockets, we channel our existential angst through the search box, believing that somewhere in that tangle of information must be stored some crucial piece of advice." Well . . . maybe. Still, it's an interesting read.

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