Google’s meaningless game

That timed trivia option is definitely new.At the library where I work, I was telling a colleague about Google’s “agoogleaday” trivia game. The random question for the day, for which Google provides a modified version of its search engine, was a sentence full of obscure medical terms. My colleague was immediately discouraged by the jargon, and I hinted offhand, “You don’t need to know what the question means to find the answer.”

I wouldn’t have realized what a strange thing that is to say had I not just finished a book by James Gleick titled “The Information,” a history about how we think about and handle information. A lot of this book, especially toward the end, talks about information stripped of meaning (with abstract math) in the process of being transformed into something universally quantifiable, and the knee-jerk reactions against such deflowering. (And the current effort to bring meaning back, e.g. the Semantic Web.)

At the time, it felt like my offhand comment about agoogleaday was more intellectually fraudulent than strange. I might have actually looked around, worried that some of the high schoolers pounding away at their keyboards heard me essentially lend authority to the CliffNotes approach.

In Gleick’s book, there’s also a fair amount of math jargon thrown in, which I’m normally wont to skim, so long as I get the gist of it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s