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

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

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

Check out “Removing biases from the product development process”!

Another event focusing on the drawbacks of design practice and how to compensate for it. This time Academy Xi.

Register for ‘Removing biases from the product development process’ on Eventbrite.

Date: Tue, Dec 1 • 11:00 AM AEDT

Start up slang? There’s a MeetUp for that.

StartUp Victoria, (not to be confused with LaunchVic,) started out life as a MeetUp.

Confusing? Well why not throw Eventbrite into the mix?

One of the most challenging aspects about new economy speak has got to be its tendency to use words completely incorrectly; to rebrand management tropes for no good reason; and to use the same acronyms to mean several different things at once.

This one won’t tell you which IP is which or that Agile is the new name for continuous improvement (for software developers), or that CI is referred to as ‘Lean’ everywhere else, but it will tell you enough to know whether to a start-up might be able to benefit from your existing skills and experience, and / or if you’d like to invest in one, because you’re able to judge its potential on your own terms.

Register here for the downlow on what is that person saying? Or join the MeetUp group and check out what Start Up Vic is up to in its native habitat.

Startup Success Series: Decoding Startup Slang

Friday, Nov 6, 2020, 1:00 PM

Online event

14 Members Attending

** TO ATTEND PLEASE REGISTER VIA EVENTBRITE: ** As a new founder, you’re already taking a step into a world full of unknowns. As you build your venture and grow your network, you’re going to come across a lot of words and phrases you might not have he…

Check out this Meetup →

Machine Learning 101? There’s a MeetUp for that.

Join Data Science Melbourne online and hear how machine learning works. It is everything it’s cracked up to be? #disruption #lifelonglearning

How machine learning works

Friday, Nov 20, 2020, 1:00 PM

Online event

50 Data Scientists Attending

from linear regression to neural networks & decision trees – we’ll show you how they work without the maths.

Check out this Meetup →