Books / Digital Culture:
The Last Page
by Rachel Singer Gordon
Search engines, Internet buzzwords, and google.com
by Dr. Adam L. Gruen
20 days in the life of a 21st century virtual city simulation.
Straight No Chaser
by Dan Richards
Cutting though the smoke of internet sound technology.
by Elizabeth Weaver Engel
An afternoon in Washington, DC.
An exclusive, in-depth interview.
by Kathe Koja
reviewed by J.M. Frank
reviewed by Donald Melanson
by Rachel Singer Gordon
So, they're saying that even the most thorough search engine only indexes
some 16% of the web.
And you're surprised? Not only is the number of web pages continuing to
grow at an exponential rate, nearly every search engine out there has changed
its focus from thorough indexing to becoming the "portal" of choice
for the most millions of eyeballs.
Before "portal" became a buzzword, you'd only hear it thrown
around as a preface to the phrase: "to hell" -- delivered in
appropriately sinister tones, of course. Evil cackle optional.
Not to equate using a portal site with selling your soul... But really,
given half an hour and a crack at their wysiwyg editor of choice (or the
neighbor kid down the block), just about anyone could create themselves an
ad-free, cleanly loading page that would point to their favorite variety of
sources for stock quotes, weather, news, and whatever else struck their fancy
that day. What if you prefer Yahoo's stock quote service, yet are enamored of
CNN's weather page?
Maybe once microdisneyaohoo figures out that neither portals nor the
Internet itself will ever be the cash cow of their dreams, they'll back off and
leave the playing field to the rest of us again.
The next contender for overused term of the year is "online
community." Use of this phrase is really very clever on the part of
Internet marketers who have picked up on the fact that what really grabs people
about the net is the potential for communication. When anyone first gets
online, the application of choice is email -- to talk to the grandkids, to swap
family photos, to write a favorite author, you name it. About as far away from
"e-commerce" as you can get.
But email (avalanches of spam aside) doesn't make anyone any money. And
merely slapping forum software into an online store does not community create,
let alone creepily keeping track of what everyone in your town or company has
Lest you get the idea that my crabbiness is both endemic and irreversible,
let me direct your attention to Google, a
little gem of a search engine created by two Stanford PhD students that has
just come out of beta. Unfortunately, Google will be launching its own
advertising program in
the near future, but hopefully the philosophical commitment will stand firm as
the money begins to roll in.
And if Google should fail you, take heart. A new study shows that any page
on the web is only
19 degrees of
separation away from any other -- so all that clicking is bound to take you
Rachel Singer Gordon is a
computer services librarian with an affinity for both books and
Send comments and
suggestions of review materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org
a r c h
i v e