Eventually you’ll have the implant, where if you think about a fact, it will just tell you an answer.
— Larry Page, co-founder of Google
The Verge starts with a statement that has become commonplace, the compulsory nod to power one has come to expect when engaged with that whole mammoth enterprise known as Google. “No technology company is arguably more responsible for shaping the modern internet, the modern life, than Google.”
The story of Google is all minted Silicon Valley: the modest research project birthed in computer lingo and networking, the serendipitous meeting of graduate students, and the finding of auspicious and enormously productive garage locations. The names tell a story: fresh, childish but hopeful. Alphabet spawned Google, and so forth. These were the products of scorned Jonathan Taplin in his sharp Move Fast and Break Things, spoiled, ignorant brats.
In a sense, the Google experiment is all homage to behavioural tendencies writ large, an attempt on the part of the founders less to control than predict. (This distinction, it must be said, has been lost.) How do people search for what is important? Who tells them? The PageRank algorithm of Google is moderate blessing and heavily laden curse, reducing the conduct of human searches to a dimension of repetition and faux enlargement of knowledge. But the paradox of such behaviour is not so much a broadening of mind as a reconfirmation of its narrowing. You are fed results you…