Friday, May 31, 2013

Google Poetics

Why are manhole covers round
If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be called research
Poets are eaten as a delicacy in Japan

What did we ever do before the Internet?  Seriously, there is so much material out there, there are so many great sites!

With that in mind, consider this site:
Google Poetics

Click the "Archive" or "Random" links on the age to start reading.  Maybe even think about how you might contribute!

I find these "poems" to be a FASCINATING look at what people are actually thinking (and typing).  Absolutely fascinating.

As I've pointed out before: There is one person (thing?) you never lie to--your search engine!  As such, the Google algorithms will attempt to autocomplete your search based on what others have searched for.  The general objective of Google Poetics appears to be to capture some of the more interesting and amusing autocompletions that result.

From Google Poetics:
Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.
Google’s algorithm offers searches after just a few keystrokes when typing in the search box, in an attempt to predict what the user wants to type. The combination of these suggestions can be funny, absurd, dadaistic - and sometimes even deeply moving.

There is, however, more to these poems than just the occasional chuckle. The Google autocomplete suggestions are based on previous searches by actual people all around the world. In the cold blue glow of their computer screens, they ask “why am I alone” and “why do fat girls have high standards”. They wonder how to roll a joint and whether it is too early to say “I love you”. They seek information on ninjas, cannibals, and Rihanna, and sometimes they just ask “am I better off dead?”

Despite the seemingly open nature of Western society, forbidden questions and thoughts still remain. When faced with these issues, people do not reach out to one another, instead they turn to Google in the privacy of their own homes. The all-knowing search engine accepts and embraces these questions and tangles them with popular song lyrics, book titles and names of celebrities: often with hilarious results.

Obviously Google is not Shakespeare, Whitman or Dickinson - it can not illuminate the unknown. But it does reveal our inner workings, our fears and prejudices, secrets and shames, the hope and longing of a modern individual.

This is why Google Poetics is important.
November 4th 2012
Helsinki, Finland

Sampsa Nuotio and Raisa Omaheimo
[Side note: Why am I not surprised that this site originated in Finland?]