Where the Web Fails

I find this column from Lee Gomes in the WSJ much more cogent than all the “are blogs dying” thoughts that seemed to bloom in February. Gomes actually identfies an Internet weakness, the web’s economic structure:

My beef, actually, is with the search engines and the economics of the modern Web. Google, for example, says its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” The way that’s written, one thinks perhaps of a satellite orbiting high above the earth, capturing all its information but interfering with nothing.

In fact, search engines are more like a TV camera crew let loose in the middle of a crowd of rowdy fans after a game. Seeing the camera, everyone acts boorishly and jostles to get in front. The act of observing something changes it.

Which is what search engines are causing to happen to much of the world’s “information.” Legitimate information, like articles from the WHO, risks being crowded out by junky, spammy imitations. Nothing very useful about that.

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