Thursday, April 02, 2009

Strange Consequences

On the problem that it's easier for a resident of Peoria to find the best restaurant in Manhattan than for that resident to find the best restaurant in Peoria:

The problem is the googlization of information. Google taught us that the masses -- en masse have something valuable for us: information on the collective mind. The problem is that when you diverge from the center, the fidelity of that information to your needs is exponentially eroded at the square of the distance


KNA said...

Are you spouting mathematical terms like exponential and square of the distance, or has someone actually looked at some relationship like this and found an actual dependance like that?

I think the gist of your point is certainly valid, and I could see how people may try to quantify it - 'cuz that's what you do with data, but it would seem exceedingly difficult, so I'm wondering if you are aware of it having been researched.

Matt Dick said...

I do not know of any research and I did not mean to imply an exact mathematical relationship. But I'm also not spouting in the sense that I meant to convey a very specific point about google's usefulness when you are not "centered" around the information most people want.

In other words it wasn't really about geographic centrality, it was about population centrality, or maybe even more properly about one's distance from the collective "center" of information.

When you want what everyone else wants, google is perfect. If you want restaurant information about Manhattan, you get perfect information from google. When you want restaurant information about Los Angeles, you get really great information from google. When you want information about restaurants in East New Haven Connecticut, you are going to have a much harder time.

KNA said...

Sure. That's what I figured, and it is quite true. I have developed a bit of a filter in deciding what is reasonably Google-able and what isn't worth the time because it is too local, too recent, too specialized, etc. to be in the common collective.