Apparently takeout.google.com allows you to download all of your Google history.
Like, all of it.
Everything you’ve ever done through Google or a Google product.
So let’s give it a go and see what jives.
My collected data was big enough that it had to be split into four downloadable zip folders.
Oh shit, is this a list of every YouTube video I’ve watched while signed into my Google account? I think I started this account back in 2011 (when I moved to London), so…that’s a lot of videos. This could prove interesting.
Oh good lord, all my Google searches? This one took forever to load ‘cause there are like 8 billion searches. The above picture is the first search I did after getting my Gmail account, apparently.
There’s…there’s actually not as much stuff as I thought there would be. Maybe I just don’t do too much other than YouTube and Google searching. I’m sure my every move on this planet is in there somewhere as well, but it’s not super obvious where it is or what it’s called.
Google, I am disappoint.
(Google, I am not disappoint. Please do not sneak into my bedroom at night and implant a tracker under my skin.)
For the regular Google results, you just get a bunch of my categories and/or tags. But for the images?
Ha. What madness.
Also, what the hell are these suggested searches?
Some of them, yeah, I see it.
But others? Weird.
What the fuck is this
What in the fuck is this
WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THIS
Google, you inconsistent pile of nonsense, what was wrong with your previous logo?
Hell, what was wrong with your previous font? Anybody who knows me knows how much I hate sans serif fonts.
(For anybody that doesn’t know me: it’s a lot.)
I don’t like that using a sans-serif is becoming the equivalent of being “modern.” It’s not being modern. It’s being shit. I think there’s a correlation between how long a site’s been using a sans-serif font as their logo (or as part of their logo) and how much that site sucks.
Let me give you some examples:
Twitter has always had a sans serif font, and Twitter has always sucked. And what’s with the “t” in this font? It looks like a little airplane seat.
An airplane seat for losers.
Facebook has always had a sans serif font, too. Coincidentally, Facebook has pretty much always sucked as well.
Now let’s look at some websites that don’t suck. Notice that they all use serif fonts.
HOLY SHIT IT’S A CONSPIRACY.
Nnnngh the sans serif nonsense is such an annoying fad. Like, I know Google has changed its logo in the past, but this is too dramatic, I think. Seriously, Google, you were doing fine with variations of this…
It’s a good font. A good font. But then you somehow find the font equivalent of diarrhea residue and MAKE IT YOUR NEW LOGO’S TYPEFACE?
I am so irrationally aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangry because of this.
At least they’re still capitalizing their name.
So help me god, if they stop capitalizing their name…
Edit: if you search “Google logo” you get this field of insanity. I don’t know about you, but this looks terrifying.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, INTERNET!
In celebration, have some…um…internet! Most of these are classics by this point, but they may not have been seen in awhile depending on how much you internet reminisce.
Hamsterdance (closest thing I could find to the original site that would actually load)
And don’t forget old Google!
Yes. Yes I have.
Anyway, completely changing topics…
I mention Achievement Hunter quite a bit on here. There are a few reasons for this.
- Listening to them game is like living in the house with the guys again. It’s hilarious.
- This sounds super dorky, but they kept me company over the summer. I didn’t have any friends around and they put out YouTube videos at least 5 times a week, so…that was that.
- They’re one of the funniest YouTube channels out there, in my opinion. Grown men cussing each other out playing video games is fantastic.
Since starting doing Let’s Plays of Minecraft back in 2012, they’ve done 65 half-hour (or longer) episodes, many featuring the Tower of Pimps.
Well check out the latest Minecraft update:
Pretty cool! Congrats, guys. And seriously, check them out (if excessive cursing doesn’t bother you, haha).
So April Fool’s Day makes me want to stab people. But Google’s April Fool’s nonsense is actually pretty great.
This would actually be useful to losers like me whose noses don’t work.
So as is tradition, there’s some sort of major character death in my NaNoWriMo novel. At least this time it doesn’t happen until the end. Or near the end.
I was going to put up my ending as an excerpt to torture you all today, but then I stumbled across a really cool science article. Considering I haven’t done my science blog yet this week, you get that instead!
Well, I guess it’s more math/pattern analysis, but hell, that’s science, ain’t it? I need to add a “math” category to my blog.*
Alrighty. So I stumbled upon this article by Ric Dragon of DragonSearch Marketing in which he makes a few educated conjectures about what the next color would be in the sequence if the Google logo had another letter.
The Google logo, as pictured above, has four colors: blue, red, yellow, and green. Mr. Dragon breaks up the letters into sequences of three to get this pattern:
- 1st sequence: blue, red, yellow (compliment to the combo of blue and red, purple)
- 2nd sequence: red, yellow, blue (compliment to the combo of red and yellow, orange)
- 3rd sequence: yellow, blue, green (combo of yellow and blue)
- 4th sequence: blue, green, red. Green = blue + yellow, but since blue is already in the sequence, he takes green-blue=yellow; thus the sequence is blue, yellow, red, with red being the compliment of blue and yellow, green.
From this, he makes the claim that the third color in any three-letter sequence must always be the result of mixing the first two colors or is the compliment of those first two colors.
So, again after removing the blue from the green in that last sequence, the next sequence of three would be yellow, red, ?
So if the rule here is combo, the next color would be orange (yellow + red)
But if the rule is compliment, the next color would be blue (compliment of yellow + red)
He talks a bit about iGoogle, too, which kind of messes up his patterns, but I actually just realized that I have a lot of stuff I should be doing other than blogging, so you’re just gonna have to read the article instead of my crappy summarizing. But it’s a cool thing to think about, eh? The mysteries of Google.
*Of course, that will require eliminating an old category to keep the total number of categories at 35. So some reassigning shall have to happen. Not that anyone else cares about that. Why the hell am I still talking?
Ready for another romp around the internet?
Of course you are!
- Love your 90’s music? Click here.
- Want to see if your favorite nickname/tag/username is available on a given site? Click here.
- Want to test your vocab? Click here.
- Interested in Google’s (playful) deceptions? Click here.
- Fan of obscure words? Click here.
- Are you getting high from all the clicking and wish you could do more of it? Click here.
The best OK Cupid match question ever.
Today was freaking horrible. Therefore, I shall focus this blog on three things that have nothing at all to do with my life at the moment.
1. Seriousness: Steve Jobs
I credit Steve Jobs with the initiation of my love of music.* The second generation iPod mini (with colors silver, blue, pink, and green) came out in 2005 and I remember my dad asking me if I wanted one. I pretty much had no interest in it. I had a grand total of five music CDs and a rockin’ portable CD player decorated in stickers. Why would I want to change that?
He got me one anyway, though, for Christmas 2005. Enter iTunes plus a $50 iTunes gift card for my birthday two months later and I was suddenly introduced to the fact that I now had the power to find ALL THE OBSCURE SONGS I’D EVER LOVED. It took like two months for my meager 40-something-song library to grow to 400+. The portability factor—along with the fact that I could now purchase songs individually and therefore didn’t have to weigh the pros and cons of buying a whole $15 CD for just one or two songs—made me want to listen to music.
Haha, and now look where I am.
So I thank you, Mr. Jobs, for your business sense, your inventive mind, and your desire to continually make/improve portable media products for gadget lovers like myself. If I had any extra money at this time, I would upgrade my current iPod (I need a bigger one, haha) in your memory. But that will have to wait until I’m not dirt poor.
Found on Imgur.
2. Creepiness: Googol
So remember when I blogged about Google’s Profiles and how it was freakishly similar to the product Google Face as I described in my NaNo Googol written last year (last part of this blog)?
Well, if Google merges with or takes over Apple within the next year or so, then I FREAKING CALLED IT AGAIN.
What I wrote:
“After the death of Steve Jobs in the early 2000s, Google’s founders felt there to be no other option but to approach Apple with a merger deal, offering them almost any stipulations they desired in exchange for being able to essentially mix the two companies into one giant hyper corporation that would push the limits of the known size of any company that had ever been in existence. […] Of course, prior to his death, Jobs had anticipated Google’s future moves. He knew that the corporation in charge of providing internet goers everything from facial recognition to “street views” of Pluto to basic search would not be so quick to pass up a merger opportunity with any company they thought was and would continue to be a successful internet partner. […] He knew a merger with the giant that was Google would most likely require sacrifices on the part of his own company. These sacrifices, however, he was not too willing to make. The impression Clarke gathered from the literature was that Jobs, in a somewhat secret move several years before his death, had created and documented several heavy handed stipulations and bargains that would have to be met in order for any sort of posthumous merger to take place.”
Including, as I go on to describe, a redesign of the Googleplex to match more the style of Apple.
3. Silliness: I Gotta Feeling
I’m not into hating specific types of music and I actually like this song, but this review is pretty great.
30-Day Meme – Day 6: Your favorite music video.
Oh crap, that’s tough.
I love The Music Scene by Blockhead because OMFG COLORZ:
But I think my favorite music video has to be for White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes. Watch this and tell me it’s not the most beautiful, sad thing ever:
I could watch that over and over and over and over.
That is all.
*Actually, such a statement is a bit of a misnomer. I’ve always loved music in the sense that I’ve loved playing it…I guess I should say that Mr. Jobs initiated my love of listening to music in general.
It’s Leibniz Day, it’s Leibniz Day!
I suggest we all mass-email Google until they make a Google logo for display on Leibniz’ birthday (at least for every country except Canada). The guy did SO MUCH! He created the freaking binary system.
They could spell “Google” in binary!
Okay, it’s a little long, but they’re Google, they rule the world. They could maybe make the binary into little blocks.
Choco Leibniz and calculus for all! Find an ostentatious wig, put it on, and be awesome. Channel the amazingness that is Gottfried.
It’s graph time! I know nobody gives a crap, but it’s fun.
Mean song length: 3:51
The Five Star
Baby I’m Yours (feat. Irfane) by Breakbot
Also this because it’s fantastic:
And this because I TOTALLY CALLED IT in my NaNo last year.
What I wrote:
“Twenty years ago Google Face was practically brand new, just coming out of beta and gaining users at an incredibly fast speed. I guess that’s what happens when you practically release a Google Maps version for people […] Google Face not only tracks faces but also attaches to them an individual’s personal information, such as their date of birth, their parents’ names, their social security number, things like that.”
What the article says:
“Google is working on a mobile application that would allow users to snap pictures of people’s faces in order to access their personal information […] Google’s Profiles product includes a user’s name, phone number and e-mail address. Google has not said what personal data might be displayed once a person is identified by its facial-recognition system.”
The future is terrifying. This is exactly why I’m afraid of Google.
It came to my attention this afternoon that aside from the bit I posted for my NaNo profile, I have yet to post an actual excerpt from my NaNo novel.
So here it is.
This is pretty much the climax of the whole thing. Clarke escaped from the Googleplex (they were holding him because he knew some things he shouldn’t have known) and is now fleeing through one of the marshes that surrounds the complex. The Googlemen are basically Google’s hitmen thugs. Socrates is the name of the guy who has been feeding Clarke all the inside info on Google.
Please ignore how crappy this is, it’s unedited.
He crouched there as quiet as he could possibly make himself, his lungs burning as he tried to suppress his hurried breathing after running for so long. Even the coming together of his two eyelids as he blinked seemed excruciatingly loud to him as he sat squatted among the willows, the heavy rain catapulting down around him in a cacophony of water hitting already saturated land.
The next few minutes were terrifying—every second he expected the beam of one of the Googlemen’s flashlights to come upon him crouched there in the darkness, every second expecting some sort of violent confrontation. It didn’t help his nerves that the wind was utilizing the tall, wet willows as vocal cords, emitting low passing moans that sounded more like a dying dog than that of the howls one often assumes one would hear during a large storm. Clarke was soaking wet by this point, his shirt clinging so coldly to his body that it was almost painful, but this pain was in a way a welcome feeling as it reminded him that he was still alive, still able to get up and run when and if that became necessary.
When he dared move again he was as cautious as he could be, keeping his feet planted in the crushed willows and cold mud as he leaned forward inch by inch, his numb fingers parting the willows in front of his face in as organically a manner as he could manage, allowing himself to peer out and see if any of the Googlemen were still in the general vicinity. No sound met his ears but the moaning wind and the near mechanical falling of the rain onto the marsh; no light met his eyes but the dully reflected moonlight that was able to pierce the thick clouds in the sky shining off of the wetness all around him.
He knew he couldn’t trust his vision, his glasses being lost in the mud as he had ran from the Googlemen, but he assumed could trust his ears and his good judgment. There was no sound of anything human out there anymore. Moving millimeter by millimeter he worked to lift a foot from the muddied wallow he’d created for himself, making a mental note to remember to fluff up the willows when he departed, lest this obviously human-made depression in the marsh be spotted by a Googleman. As it was, he was taking enough of a risk attempting to flee via the marsh in the first place. Anything that went kiting through the willows was apt to leave a relatively noticeable crease through the usually undisturbed plants, and no doubt a trail of footprints to boot. However, in this rain Clarke surmised that any footprint he were to leave would be quickly swallowed up by the near liquefied ground beneath him, the marsh combined with the rain effectively erasing his trail as he made it.
At least, he could hope this would be the case. That was all he had left to do at this point.
His footing stabilized, he gradually drew himself to a crouching stand, too afraid still to stand upright but too much in pain to remain fully hunched over. The air was black as pitch around him, not even a subtle glow of an indigo night sky above the marsh was apparent. Everything was too clouded over; even the moon’s light hung like a dust covered lamp in the sky, its efforts to pierce the clouds too weak for it to act as an effective light by which to navigate, the dim beams lighting only the wet fringe of the willows that surrounded him on all sides.
Carefully—very carefully—he began to move again, every muscle intent on disrupting the willows he had nested in as little as possible. He had only to make it to the lake and he’d be free. Free forever.
But a step or two outside his protective nest, his ears picked up the sound of something hurrying through the willows behind him. Faint at first, slow but deliberate—and then in an instant the noise picked up and seemed to be joined by other noises from all sides around him. He had made not a sound—or so he thought—but yet they had found him. They had hunted him down, an unknown amount of the brutal Googlemen that had been dispatched hours ago to seek him out. He tried to remain quiet, but panic overtook him and he was moved by some blunt force of fear within him to move as quickly as he could, regardless of the consequences.
“Hey! Over there!”
The shot came a split second after the shout. Had Clarke not been anticipating this he would have surely been killed on the spot, but as it happened the bullet missed him as he preemptively had ducked out of the way.
He broke into a sprint—or as much of a sprint as he could get up to running through a marsh during a rain storm. The suction of the mud around his feet was agonizing, making him feel as if he were in one of those dreams where, no matter how hard you tried, you could never run fast enough from whatever it was that was coming to get you, or could never move fast enough to prevent yourself from being later than you already were to wherever the dream selected your presence to be desired.
He sloshed wildly as he attempted to run, the mud grabbing onto his feet, onto his ankles, pulling him down when he was making every possible effort to walk across it. He felt one shoe succumb to the mud, a hearty slop of a sound hitting his ears as he pressed onwards, too concerned with his life to worry about what possible hazards to a naked foot may lie in the marsh. He could almost feel them closing in on him from behind. The frantic shouts of the Googlemen were something he had been all too familiar with from his time in solitary confinement. He had heard them then as he heard them now, but it certainly was of a different feeling knowing that the shouts were for him, that these highly trained men were seeking out him, each one of them armed with god knows what weaponry, each one trained in the art of knowing how to murder another human being in less than fifteen seconds.
Clarke had no time for these thoughts now; now his thoughts were solely on finding the lake. The marshes in California were expansive and not very well kept, Clarke knew, but he also knew that they were riddled with lakes. Socrates had told him, perhaps in his greatest blunder, that this particular marsh held a particularly large lake…no, not a lake but a tributary…a river that bowed outwards like a lake near the middle of the marsh but eventually returned to its river-like slenderness as it wove through the patches of willow and lily pads until finally emptying out into the Pacific Ocean.
The ocean. That’s what he wanted. That’s what he needed. That was his survival now, reaching the great blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Never mind the hazards that such a journey would entail; as of now his goal was to reach the first leg of that journey, the first leg being the lake.
He was stumbling wildly now, feeling the tear of the bitterly cold mud at his bared ankles. The suction pulled at his jeans; had they been another centimeter around at the waist they would have surely been sucked the way of his shoe, but as it stood they were simply being yanked downwards, but not enough so so that he would lose them. His movements grew sloppier as his body, no longer able to ward off the coldness of the night despite his intense physical activity, was slowing down, becoming number and clumsier. But he couldn’t give up. He couldn’t let them get him. He turned his head in time to catch a search light, its hot white beam alarmingly close to him as it jutted through the tangle of willows he’d left behind.
The beams were creeping up all around him now, some of them shining in front of him as the Googlemen slowly over took him. Where was the lake? He could hear it, he could even smell it, smelling the placid, still water through all of that water which fell actively from the sky and bounced off of the plants around him. Through his near blindness, caused both by his horrible nearsightedness under his lack of glasses and the unrelenting raindrops falling into his eyes he thought he could make out…yes…a clearing! Ahead of him to the right! He couldn’t see the lake per se, of course, but what appeared to be a large area devoid of willows, a blacker shape against the blackness amongst the wet plants and muddy banks, could be nothing other than the lake he had so actively been pursuing for the past several hours.
Manically he dove through the willows at an almost inhuman speed for how exhausted he was, allowing himself the emitting of a hysterical yell, a yell of near triumph and of near freedom. It was doubtless that the Googlemen behind him, who were pressing up against his lead with an alarming closeness, heard this yell, as it was followed by a series of frantic shouts from the hunting group behind him.
He heard another shot ring out but was too focused on getting to the lake to take any sort of evasive action. As it was it didn’t matter, as the shot was a wild one and the bullet had no chance of hitting him even if he’d decided to stand up and be still. He was so close, so tantalizingly close…the only reason he had time to even contemplate how close he was to freedom was because the willows and mud and rain and slickness were preventing him from reaching his destination with the speed that his mind, body, and desire to live all wanted him to reach it.
But in another instant he was there, right on the bank, and it was as if time stood still as he took a running leap into the black pool of water that shone in the dulled moonlight like a well of ink. He was airborne for less than a second before hitting the water, and in another split second he was under.
It was then that he felt the shot.
As saturated as his clothes were, they didn’t prevent him from bobbing at the surface for no longer than half a second, the wet folds catching pockets of air as he dove towards the water, acting like over-effective sails in keeping him at the surface. One of the Googlemen must have seen—several of the Googlemen must have reached the edge of the water just as he’d taken his dive, as it registered simultaneously with the fact that he had been shot the fact that he could actually feel the warmth from the beams of their flashlights.
The sudden onslaught of sharp pain in his right shoulder, back behind his shoulder blade, made him expel all the oxygen he had taken hostage with him as he flew through the air towards the water. His lungs empty, his clothes finally saturated, he began to sink. He was barely aware of this and yet it was tantamount to his escape as being forefront on his mind. If he sank, his frantically worn through mind reasoned, they wouldn’t find him. He could sink and stay at the bottom until they left and then he could resurface and swim to the ocean, swim to freedom, by the light of the day.
By the light of the day…
By the light…
Today’s song: If We Ever Meet Again (feat. Katy Perry) by Timbaland
Best typo I’ve found in Googol so far: “There was only one thing Clarke knew for certain at that particular point in time—Google had ruined his privates.”
There’s also a whole paragraph on the main character scratching his butt that I swear to God I don’t remember writing.
I’d like to do something with this story; now that I’m rereading it I think it may be of actual interest to some people out there. I know I couldn’t ever get it published (first, because I suck, and second, because Google would sue my ass in a nanosecond), but maybe I might post it in installments here on the good ol’ blog.
What do you think?
Also, fake Christmas ruled. I got cooking supplies.
Today’s song: L’s Theme Part B by Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi
I’m amazed by large corporations. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because the larger companies get, the more fiercely they seem to push for their right to be the largest company, especially when they have to muscle out some other company for top spot. I find it amusing, interesting, and frightening all at the same time.
Due to the insane technological advances we’ve been making in the past decade, along with help from the glorious, glorious internet, we’ve been able to witness the birth of mega corporations that are able to grow to tremendous sizes and pretty much envelop everything they touch. And when they decide to merge, we’re all in trouble.
Oh come on, you know which ones I mean…
Microsoft (area of dominance: computing)
Not only does Microsoft (in my opinion, at least) pretty much own the computing sector with their PCs, they’ve also got quite a monopoly on software (Microsoft Office, anyone?), plus Internet Explorer, Zune, Windows Media, Windows Live (including Hotmail and Messenger), and the Xbox 360.
It’s probably the weakest of the four corporate giants as I see them, but it’s still got a pretty strong hold on things when you think about it. Hell, I typed this out in Microsoft Word and uploaded it in IE*. I guess the reason it seems weak is because it’s not expanding at the rate of the other corporations I’ve listed.
Speaking of expansion…
Apple (area of dominance: portable media)
Remember that time where Apple only made those dorky computers? Haha, yeah. Nostalgia. Now there are IPHONES EVERYWHERE. Perhaps you read my blog about my adventure in the Apple store. If not, go read it, slacker! here’s the summary: people are psycho for Apple products. The company is rapidly gaining ground in the portable media sector.
– Phones that also play music.
– Wi-Fi access in small electronics.
– Wi-Fi access in small electronics that also act as phones and play music
– Whatever the hell the iPad is.
– But wait! A newer version of the Wi-Fi/phone/music thing!
You get the idea.
Apple has pretty much taken over the “check out this electronic doohickey I’m carrying!” area, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing up. Pair this with the grip it’s got on the music sales industry via iTunes and you’re looking at one powerful company.
Facebook (area of dominance: personal information)
The king of personal information, Facebook as it stands right now is quite frightening. It’s not Big Brother we have to worry about, but each other, now that we’re able to pretty much list everything down to our genetic code on a social networking site. The worst part about it is how addicting it is. I’m not ashamed (though I probably should be) that I went through a freaky little withdrawal stage when I shut down my Facebook account for a few months back in May (April? Whenever), and was pretty much fully hooked on it again when I came back. Despite all the privacy issues Facebook’s having right now, I don’t think the number of people using the site will decrease by any significant amount anytime soon, thus leaving those of us in Facebook Land a good population in which to search and stalk.
Google (area of dominance: general information)
Last but certainly not least is Google. Google is terrifying.
Google will own the world in approximately seven more years.
In a decade, “Googling” will no longer just be a word for “searching via google.com” but will be a euphemism for all sorts of other things (possibly dirty things). In twenty years, we’ll have street views of Alpha Centauri.
Can you tell this company frightens me?
I guess if you name your company after something as big as a googol, you’re pretty much destined to be of the mindset to want to expand as much as possible. Their getting their hands on YouTube was the final “oh crap!” moment for me, now I’m just waiting for the blue, red, yellow and green takeover. Or should I say takeooooooooooooover.
Paranoia? Perhaps. But I’m waiting for the day Google decides to merge with Apple, they conquer Facebook, and Microsoft decides to join in just because. Then we’re screwed.
*Anyone who gives me browser choice crap is invited to come over and count the number of times Firefox crashes when I use it. That browser and I don’t get along, I like IE best, shut the hell up.
Today’s song: Protection (Sirius Mo Radio Edit) by Ben Mono
I remember the “lenses” part of my high school physics class being one of the things I was really interested in in that class (the Rube Goldberg project was a sore spot for me, and the cardboard chair project was designed so that only about 1/3 of the class was able to get enough cardboard from the recycling center).
The “Will It Lens?” blog obviously shows the dark side of the Google guys. They have our internet, and now they’re harnessing our sun. Scary, huh? One guy’s blog elaborates on their burning projects, which is pretty interesting.
Fresnel lenses are probably something with which everyone who reads my blogs is familiar, but I still think they’re cool. Common uses include headlights, lighthouses, and tools for sun-loving pyromaniacs.
More. Another guy makes a huge focus dish out of an old satellite dish. Ah, the wonders of Craigslist…
Fun trivia fact: Baruch Spinoza (one of the three main Continental Rationalists along with Descartes and Leibniz) died as a direct result from being a lens grinder in his early life.
Today’s song: Take it Home by The White Tie Affair
Part I. Jupiter
Apparently this is a fairly frequent thing, but I don’t ever remember hearing anything about it before.
Part II. The internet
What is this, the Information Age Paradigm Shift into Tab Land? Or are all the big websites having a mid-digital-age crisis and wanting facelifts?
What is the big deal with tabs, anyway? Seriously. I don’t see their appeal. Now Wikipedia has jumped on the “let’s change shit up for no reason” bandwagon and added that overplayed “we’re modern now!” tab-and-pointless-fading-color-crap to their site. They also decided to move their search box across the page.
Somebody needs to explain to me why this is all happening at once.
Haha, maybe there’s some sort of cosmic connection between Jupiter losing a stripe and the big players of the Tubes deciding to change things up.
Like Google’s head scientist (because you know they’ve got some sort of “Google Jupiter” machines flying around in the ammonia clouds taking pictures) goes into a board meeting and says to their head designer: “Um, sir…it appears we’ve got some shocking news from Jupiter.”
Head Designer: “What is it, Doctor?”
Head Scientist: “Well, it appears that the SEB has gone missing from our view.”
Head Designer: “So?”
Head Scientist: “That means that the largest planet in our solar system has just changed its layout!”
Head Designer: “OH CRAP! We’d better get on that NOW! INFORM WIKIPEDIA, THIS SHIT’S GOING TO GO DOWN FAST!!”
Hahaha, I know it’s not a big deal. I just like to bitch about it. I just don’t see a valid reason for it, especially for it all happening at once.
Also, for whatever the hell reason, today we switched to Leibniz’ notation in calculus. Not that I’m complaining.
Today’s song: Parlez Vous Francais? by Art vs. Science
Alternate title: I’M ALL FIRED UP, WHAT’RE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?!
I had a frustrating day today for various reasons. This little rant was inspired by a Google search (and Facebook). Haha, it’s a LOT longer than it was originally intended to be, so ignore it if you don’t want to read my incoherent ramblings about stuff that really doesn’t matter at all.
Perhaps the large businesses, website designers, and marketing department heads are familiar with the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If they are, I truly doubt that they actually know what it means, as it is quite obvious by the state of change things are in nowadays that they currently have no intention of heeding its message.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It may not sound like much (and it’s not), but there’s one thing in particular that stuck with me throughout my undergraduate education that has, now that I think about it, been backed up by pretty every situation I’ve ever been in: people dislike change. I’m not talking about change that brings about better circumstances, either immediately or in the distant future (though usually we’re more apt to appreciate change that leads to things improving immediately, as we as a species pretty much suck at appreciating delayed rewards). I’m also not talking about change that occurs because something is broken or something isn’t working to the best of its capability. Of course they should change the design of, for example, a hammer, if the way it’s designed now causes people to take two hours to pound a nail into a board. I’m not talking about that kind of change.
I’m talking about change for the sake of change—changing stuff just because it’s felt that a new layout is needed, or “modernization” must occur. There’s no real payoff from it, so there’s really no reason to do it—and yet it’s done anyway. I know everyone knows what I mean because as of late, websites, companies, and everybody else who gets their hands on their own logo all seem to be really desperate to do this. I noticed it a few years ago with brand logos and designs suddenly changing to look more “modern”—in particular, I recall the old M&M’s packages being replaced with the newer, hipper, 90’s versions (more flashy text, a more ‘animated’ package background).
Why? No real reason whatsoever. I know that logos and packages are a somewhat different field than websites (and actual products themselves), but every time I see a newly re-designed package with a sticker that claims something to the effect of “new design, same great product!” I have to wonder, “then why change the packaging?”
As I said, though, packaging and brand logos are in a different league than websites. Web design is something that, when it’s done right, is not noticed at all. Herein lies the problem with sudden unnecessary change, and I will show you why:
Pick a website whose design you admire for its simplicity and ease of use. This whole thing started with Google’s desire to change things up for no reason, but let’s pick another website just for the sake of demonstrating my point with even more strength: Facebook. I was not on Facebook myself until it underwent its first (and possibly second, I can’t remember) layout overhaul2. I wasn’t really interested in what it had to offer, but I do remember that the tabs at the top weren’t yet present, the “mini-feed” still existed, and things ran pretty smoothly and information was easy enough to locate.
Not long after this, however, things began to change for no reason other than to…well, I still don’t know why they thought changing stuff around was a good idea. The tabs arrived, and if I recall correctly they were met with such opposition that I had, at one point, multiple friends inviting me to join multiple groups that either protested the new layout or that claimed they had a way to change your profile back to the “old Facebook.” Then the “news feed” thing came, along with its ability to seemingly randomly switch between the “most popular” and the “most recent” feeds. Same story, same opposition.
Deny it all you like, there’s no getting around the fact that there are a lot of people who dislike the changes Facebook has made (and, for reasons seemingly unknown, keeps making). It doesn’t take much to realize why. When I first started using Facebook, I really didn’t pay any attention to the layout, mainly for this reason alone: it worked. It did what it was supposed to do, and it was fairly efficient at doing so. I got all the information I wanted to see on one page with no unnecessary fluff or clicks.
When Facebook suddenly made the tab change, I (as well as everyone else) was forced to “retrain” our methods of navigating the website. Whether the new design was in actuality more efficient than the old one was not the point in question—when the mini-feed vanished on us, we had to expend extra effort to retrain our brains to recognize that it was now under the “wall” tab and not right in front of us when we went to our profile.
The point I’m trying to make now is the fact that unnecessary layout changes are not only, you know, unnecessary, but they draw the attention to any shortcomings that may have, by accident, been included with the new layout upgrade. All of a sudden our ability to rate videos has disappeared on YouTube. Though there are claims that the overall “clutter” of the site has been reduced3, how many people notice anything other than the fact that they can’t rate something as having five stars (or still notice that the layout is still not the greatest)? That’s the point I’m trying to make: when website layouts or designs change for no obvious reason than to just change, we don’t notice the good things. We notice the failures. So what do we do? We do what only comes natural: we bitch about it.
Note, however, that this bitching does absolutely nothing. And now we come to the reason why I went on this long rant in the first place: Google. There are several things that I have always expected to remain constant (or at least, said to remain constant) within my lifetime. Among such things are:
– the speed of light in a vacuum
– Planck’s constant
– the gravitational constant
So imagine my surprise when I Googled something this afternoon and, upon viewing the search results, found that I was privy to Google’s experimental (and possibly soon-to-be-permanent) sidebar. Immediately annoyed by its intrusion into my search results, I did a search on it itself and within the top few results were—guess what?—people bitching about the experimental sidebar. “I hate this format- I like Google because it was clean and simple and now it’s all cluttered like every other search engine out there4.” There appear to be pro-Google individuals in digital tears over the possibility that a sidebar will be a permanent addition to their search results pages.
And now we come very quickly to the second point I wish to make: bitching does absolutely nothing (most of the time). Again, this has to do with the fact that people are both creatures of habit and lazy, as well as the fact that there are about five websites, in my opinion, that most people use without thinking much about it. I have friends in another country; I log onto Facebook to see if there’s any recent news about them. No real thought, it just happens. It’s like this with all the big and popular sites, and no amount of changes will probably mess with that.
When a member of the Internet Axis of Power (Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, YouTube, those such sites)1 pulls a change on the public, of course there is going to be outrage. There certainly was when YouTube changed its format and not too long ago. Comments of “the new YouTube layout sucks!” were quickly thumbed up and became the most liked comments on quite a few of the videos I’ve watched.
Why does this happen? I reiterate: if something’s working fine, and there is a sudden change that doesn’t really do much to improve aesthetics, functionality, or ease of use, it generally messes with peoples’ minds in a way that makes them upset. They have to expend effort, either getting used to a whole new way of navigating a website in the most extreme cases (Facebook), or just getting their brains used to a new visual cue on their search results page in the milder ones (a la Google’s experimental sidebar). And people don’t like effort.
But these websites are still the strongest ones out there. YouTube could make us have to type a captcha to comment on a video or Facebook could make us do the same to post on our friend’s wall, and we’d probably still use them. Why? Because they’re there. Because they’re the websites we’ve grown to love and depend on and automatically scroll to in our list of bookmarked sites. It’s basically a battle between putting up with pointless, needless site changes, or changing ourselves to not go to those sites. And we all know what side wins every time.
I’m certainly not suggesting that these websites are the bourgeoisie oppression to our proletarian desires to breeze about the internet unheeded. I’m simply saying that we can bitch all we like—if we continue to use their sites, and those in charge see no significant drop in web traffic as a result of the changes they made, then really, what’s been accomplished but a lot of angry video comments, irate Facebook groups, and upset Google users posting “it’s the end of the universe!” on forums?
One or two user casualties will ultimately do nothing, and I’m nearly stating fact when I say this: is there really anything that Google, YouTube, or Facebook could (in their right minds) do to their sites to render a huge drop in web traffic? Will a sidebar on Google’s results pages actually cause us to go elsewhere if we want to search for something? And for those of us Facebook addicts (or Facebook addicts in training), will a more-difficult-to-navigate interface really deter us much from checking the news feed every five minutes?
I started this rant with the intention of complaining about the problems of superfluous changes in web design—specifically, I wanted to point out that websites that change their layout for no other apparent reason than to simply change things up a bit get negative feedback and may lose some of their credibility (though that’s not the word I’m looking for, but I can’t think of a better one at the moment). However, the point I seem to have made in the end is that we’re pretty much tied to the major websites—and to any website we use with consistency, really—to the point where these little changes, as frustrating as they may be, will do little to deter us from partaking in the
services said websites offer. So I guess the best we can do is hold our little bitch-fests and hope the web designers happen to read video comments.
Edit: I also just came across this tidbit of information while researching for this little rant.
“‘There is nothing wrong with the logo,’ said Google product manager Nundu Janakiram. ‘We wanted to brighten it up and make some tweaks to it.'”
“There is nothing wrong with the logo.”
“There is nothing wrong with the logo.”
“There is nothing wrong with the logo.”
1 By traffic: http://mostpopularwebsites.net/
Today’s song: Pompeii by E.S. Posthumus
As much as I hated finding eigenvalues and eigenvectors (which was a lot), this article’s actually very interesting. Probably because some of this stuff is relevant to factor analysis, which is sexiness in statistics form.
That is all.
Today’s song: Animal by Miike Snow
So I know that Google’s been running pretty much everything for quite some time, but today I realized just how freaking concerning that’s getting.
I finally downloaded Google Earth for Vaio II and was checking out all the new features.
Features which include MAPS OF THE MOON AND OF MARS. Also, their street view’s getting pretty creepy as well. Here’s a list of acquisitions/partnerships/investing/insanity:
- Freaking NASA
- Sun Microsystems
- AOL of Time Warner
Insanity. I fear using Chrome and I probably won’t get a Gmail until it’s required by law.
Side note: from looking at Google’s Wikipedia page (one thing Google doesn’t own yet!), I noticed that their headquarters was named Googleplex, which had me laughing hysterically for about 15 minutes (for those unaware, a googol = 10100 and a googolplex = 10googol). I think my mom thought I was on drugs.
Today’s song: Fireflies (Piano Cover) originally by Owl City
Do you guys ever scroll through your past Google searches before you delete them and see all the weird crap you look up? I do, and I look up a lot of weird and random crap. This is about a fifth of it:
“FM radio lyrics”
“Mystery Science Theatre 3000”
“Sadomasochism” (don’t ask.)
“Socratic method of inquiry”
“Why societies collapse”
Yeah. Just a little tidbit for you all. Enjoy it now, cause one day I’ll be gone and then how will you be entertained, huh?!