Is the Internet broken or is it just me? Confessions of an Internet Power User

For months I’ve been switching between different search engines wondering:

what’s happened to my Internet search results?*

‘Why are search results off topic?’

‘Why did you do that Google?’

‘Literal search, please

and of course the obvious:

‘Why is Internet search broken?’

The responses have been about as disconnected from the words I literally, actually used to pose my question as everything else has been lately, including whole pages of ‘why search is actually great,’ when it isn’t, and for what seemed like ages, I was none the wiser.

As an excellent speller, who doesn’t need #ChatGPT to write and research what I want to communicate, it’s puzzling to have correctly spelled words, people’s actual names, double quotation marks and boolean plus signs make no headway whatsoever into what a badly designed update to a previously anthropomorphic co-worker would now prefer me to look at.

But I digress.

It seems as if the Internet has suffered a catastrophic stroke, or else is in a new relationship that I’m not in, and worse than this, decided that I don’t really know what I want, or what I’m actually doing, which is bad enough when breathing humans do it.

(As a Melbournian, I’ve literally dumped two different people, years apart, for messing with my coffee order.)

How do you break up with the Internet?

Or it with you?

This week, after consulting the Magic 8 ball for the umpteenth time pleading with it to tell me ‘what’s wrong with Internet search?,’ up popped an article, at the top of the pile where it belonged, that was well written, plausible and seemed to have the answer.

So here it is, for your viewing pleasure and my future reference.

‘It’s not SEO, something is fundamentally broken with Google search’

Yes folks, the reason this once brilliant repository of answers to every obscure question, from a company that’s supposed to know everything there is to know about me, that it’s possible to know, (if one confines ‘everything’ to meaning user generated data gleaned from:

1. apps I use,

2. spyware I’ve downloaded

3. times I have my phone with me

4. some sample biometrics indirectly measured

5. cross referenced with all the times my voice assistant has lit up in response to a loud outburst of exasperation about the ‘Internet becoming a garbage dump with the curb appeal of an unrenovated strip shopping mall’ and I’ve accidentally clicked the wrong thing by mistake.

Why Google has chosen to ignore the potential of the data it has and could be using to reduce me to seeing things it ‘knows’ I already opt into, in favour of hemming me in on all sides with paid posts and the personal ramblings and undercooked opinions of a plethora of attention seeking nobodies posting listicles, (whose most salient feature seems to be their lack of production values, lack of intellectual pedigree, talent for SEO and capacity to pay for Google ads) turns out not to be privacy or SEO related.

Instead, it transpires that I’m not average or popular enough to be of any interest to a volume biased algorithm, and instead I’m rather flatteringly an Internet search ‘power user’ and fairly accepting of my massive nerd status.

What do you think?

Are you a power user or one of the popular search pack?

Asking punters important questions about the Internet at the Australian Open #AOtennis

* To give you some sense of the severity of the problem dear reader, at one stage I resorted to Bing, in a bid to restore some kind of normalcy – by which I mean, ‘search results that you’d expect to see completely dominated by widget sellers and sales outlets’ instead of anything useful.

Snowcrash the book: Explore the Metaverse origin story

This week marks four years since the blog started and 20 plus years since I read a book that anticipated the human and citizenship dimensions of an immersive, online, digital and connected world hosting rival frameworks commanding human loyalty and shaping identity that still interest me today.

From the moment Hiro Protagonist crashed into a pool, mid pizza delivery ‘Snowcrash’ captured my attention and held it, in full defiance of my usual disinterest in sci-fi in ways not seen since ‘Star Trek Next Gen’.

If you’re a fan of the book, come visit the book club at the Metaverse store on 11 August, 318 Little Collins Street, Melbourne,

Register here

Digital Government Festival – a two day free event presented by Melbourne Law School

Grab your tickets to the inaugural Digital Government Festival: From Complexity to Collaboration hosted by the University of Melbourne School of Law.

When: Wed, June 1 ‐ Thu, June 2 • 8:00 AM AEST

Where: online

Bookings here

AuDA launches ‘.auCheck’ a free tool for checking your website security

The Australian Domain Name Authority (AuDA) presents auCheck, a new development aiming to keep website security site owner accessible.

Register here

Is it ‘Time to .auCheck your website security’?

If so, it’s online on Tuesday 3 May @ 12:00 PM AEST

Monitoring the Moratorium on use of Genetic Test Results in Life Insurance

One for the ages: Genetic Discrimination in Australia.

Join Deakin Science and Margaret Otolowski (UTas) exploring the use of genetic test results in life insurance, and the moratorium introduced by the life insurance industry peak body, the Financial Services Council (FSC) in July 2019 and how this came about.

Tuesday October 19  10:00 AM AEDT

Register here

In Conversation with Annabel Crabb | Counterpoint: Women in Government

AusInnovation hosts the inimitable Annabel Crabb free and in person.

Join in for ‘Counterpoint: Women in Government’.

Click here for tickets and details.

Registration essential.

Date: Thu, Sep 23 2021

• 4:00 PM AEST

Centre for Legal Innovation – What should I automate?

Automating frequently followed procedures is the new big thing, but what you can automate, versus what you should automate might surprise you.

Check out ‘What should I automate?’

The million dollar question.

Mon, Aug 9 • 1:00 PM AEST online

Register here

Uncommon projects 2021

Artistic Licence Innovation is a sole trader consulting firm specialising in service design and start up projects.

In 2021 we helped the Choir of Hard Knocks become accredited as a mental health provider in Queensland, remotely from Melbourne during Covid, a national first in social prescribing.

#challengeaccepted #socialprescriber #nationalfirst #hardknocks

Monash Uni presents ‘What next for robots in public space?’

This week’s theme is public use of technology.

First it was IoT and emergencies in Lake Nona, with Verizon, now it’s Melbourne with “What next for robots in public space?”

Wed, Jun 4:00 PM AEST

Location: Flinders Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Details and bookings on Eventbrite here

Can’t make the gig? Find something else to do.

Free afterwork events covering everything from AI to Zoom in the Tec and The City Calendar.

The Erosion of Medical Consent – how technology and medical research impact on agency

Harriet A. Washington, author of ‘Carte Blanche: The Erosion of Medical Consent’ online webinar.

Date: Thu, Apr 22 • 7:00 AM AEST

Book here

Stakeholder Capitalism alternative governance

Alternative business models demand more flexible governance ideas. Check out ‘Stakeholder Capitalism’

Friday, Dec 18 • 2:00 PM AEDT

Register here