It turns out that the Computer History Museum in Mountain View was once The Computer Museum in Boston, next to the Children’s Museum on Fort Point Channel (an area I know pretty well from my days at Thomson just down Congress Street). Now it’s just a server’s throw away from Google headquarters, which might explainContinue reading “Algorithm Nation”
By combining search and browsing history with geographic and other spatial information, mobile devices have greatly accelerated the ability of our favorite applications and websites to predict, suggest, and refine responses to a query–or respond even when no overt query has been made. In other words, context itself has become the new query.
Perhaps the last two trends we’d ever imagine converging are the decades-long path to individual self-expression via technology with the rise of mass surveillance via the national security state. But, on this auspicious fifth of November, we do well to remember how all this came to be.
Google’s somewhat muted announcement of a major upgrade to its search algorithm, named “Hummingbird,” is a much bigger deal than it looks, and much more of a milestone in our relationship to computing than we might think. So what’s going on here?