the first ? that pops into your head is why? i think Matt Webb has nailed it. i am adding a link to this text to an entry of his i have had in my “to read” and “to blog” folders for about a month. it makes more sense in the context of this one (and i still need to read it a 2nd time and try to understand it better. interconnected is to tech what theyblinked is to theo):
God that’s it.:
GOOGLE ARE BUILDING THE MEMEX.:
They’ve got one-to-one connections. Links. Now they’ve realised - like Ted Nelson - that the fundamental unit of the web isn’t the link, but the trail. And the only place that’s online is… weblogs.:
There are two levels to the trail::
1 - what you see
2 - what you do
(“And what you feel on another track” – what song is that?)
And the trail is, in its simplest form, organised chronologically. Later it gets more complex. Look to see Google introduce categories based on DMOZ as a next step.
So, the GOOGLE TOOLBAR tracks everything you do on the web, giving you low-level anonymous trails tying the web together. These are analagous to the strings of physics, or the rows and columns of Excel. This is 1, what you see.
Now there’s the semantics, the meaning extracted from these, and that’s done with the human mind. This is 2, what you do. What you choose to elevate. Now these trails are the basic units.
The combination of the two is startling.
Oh, and you can analyse how people search to add extra data. Stop and start points.
Imagine, searching at Google, and then:
this trail is highly followed
do you only want to see what people suggest, or where people went?
here’s a worn track in the interweb. Follow the Google Pixie!
this trail is uncommon, but made by someone we see (by your weblog) that you value
And next, it’s the true Memex. The Google appliance based on microfiche, punchcards and cameras…
Last thought, because I think I’ve reached what’s really happening with the Memex.
Google, Microsoft, etc: these people are Push. Sometimes Push leaps ahead. And sometimes they’ll do it really well.
But they’re grist to the mill for Pull. Pull will happen slow and steady, like BSD appearing under Mac OS X. Sooner or later these Google ideas will distribute, appear as interlocking parts in the net, tied into the ecosystem.
At the moment, the trail can only be built centrally, with Push. And it’s being done because it’s True To The Medium and has to be done.
But it changes the shape of the environment. There’s now an incentive space to encourage building trails. So Pull will come along, build gradually, and in another decade trails will be part of the foundations, and Xanada and the Memex will have won.</em>