Google is forgetting the old web

Some people think Google has stopped indexing old parts of the web. Even supposing that’s not the case, that there isn’t any memory loss going on, it seems to me that in recent years Google has tweaked its ranking to give more prominence to what’s hot and trending, the new over the old. The first page of a Google search is more often than not just a collection of news articles. Smaller design choices — such as the news carousel featuring at the top of most searches — have put more weight on recency over accuracy, on articles about the latest developments of a situation over less noisy sources.

One other major shift in how Google views itself happened around the time voice assistants entered our lives — being that they need to return straight answers to be useful, not a set of options. That’s when Google started using machine learning and algorithms to return direct answers to queries. It works when the answer is factual, such as the height of a mountain or the distance from a place. It’s less trustworthy when asked about an event or a situation, seeing that it seems to return whatever is popular at the moment.

That’s saddening, even if no forgetting was happening. This focus on novelty over knowledge diverges from my mental model of the Web. As Tim Bray writes, a permanent, long-lived store of humanity’s intellectual heritage.

La propone Dieter Bohn:

  • Deve essere linkabile
  • Deve permettere l’accesso a qualsiasi client

Con enfasi sulla seconda:

Links aren’t the complicated part; it’s the part where your thing should allow any client to access it. For the web, that rule is pretty clear: whether you use Chrome or Safari or Edge or Opera or whatever, when you click a link or type in a URL, you get the page you wanted (more or less). Those pages are agnostic to the client. […]

When people talk about the “open web,” agnosticism to the client is really at the heart of it.

Microblogging con WordPress

Mi piace molto l’idea, di cui sono venuto a conoscenza grazie al blog di Manton Reece, di rubare a Twitter il monopolio della timeline portando il microblogging sui blog — diffondendo timeline ovunque. È semplice: il prodotto principale di Twitter è la timeline, un flusso di post brevi ordinati cronologicamente. Scrive Manton:

For the last few years, Twitter has had a monopoly on the timeline. We need to break that up. The first step is encouraging microblogs everywhere, and the next step is to build tools that embrace the timeline experience.

WordPress da tempo permette di associare un formato ai post, un micropost potrebbe essere un normale post, marcato come status dentro WordPress, visualizzato in maniera differente dagli altri. Ad esempio, non dovrebbe avere un titolo, dovrebbe ovviamente essere breve, venire distribuito in un rss separato ed essere facile da creare da smartphone (ad esempio, sfruttando IFTT).

Non è un’idea nuova, Winer ne scriveva nel 2008, ma è ora molto facile da implementare. Il mio uso di Twitter è diminuito drasticamente negli ultimi anni, ma questo non perché il formato — o lo strumento — non siano utili. Personalmente, credo mi sarebbero utilissimi: mi permetterebbero di commentare brevemente, senza dover ricorrere alla pesantezza di un post.

In altre parole, penso ve li ritroverete presto su Bicycle Mind.