All posts filed under: This Week in Information Overload

Google v Bing: The Hiybbprqag Affair

Did Bing get busted copying Google? This is truly a sting operation for the Information Age. Google makes up a word (e.g. hiybbprqag) and temporarily rigs its search engine to point that word at a real but obviously irrelevant site (a seating chart for the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles). A few weeks later, when you enter hiybbprqag into Microsoft’s Bing search engine, you get this: Open-and-shut case, right? No such thing. I won’t rehearse all the furious, mind-churning debates that have ensued. For my money the best real-time analysis has come from Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, here and then a few days later here. If you want to sample more, an efficient way to track the conversation is now—ready for some irony?—to google (or bing) the word hiybbprqag. Bing would never have noticed these nonsense words without a bit of help, so Google provided the help.

What Wikileaks Tells Us

Perhaps you don’t quite know what to make of the latest Wikileaks data dump. That’s all right. No one does. It’s TMI. This Week in Information Overload In point of fact, I don’t think it has much to tell us about its ostensible subject, American diplomacy. But it is revelatory of the Information Age as it exists in 2010—the new rules and the old rules in collision. The great newspapers with first dibs on the leaked State Department cables, beginning with the Guardian and the New York Times, used every device in their Cabinets of Special Emphasis: front-page banners, custom logos (“State’s Secrets”; “The US Embassy Cables”), editors’ notes to readers, and vivid teasers (“an extraordinary look at the inner workings …”; “an unprecedented look …”; “a mammoth cache …”; “the unvarnished story”). Understatement was not the order of the day. In contrast, the most angry opponents of the cables’ publication, right-wing commentators and elected officials, called Wikileaks terrorists and demanded prosecution and execution. At least they agreed that it was important. In further contrast, …