Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Using Google To Send Smoke Signals

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Author: Marc Fawzi

Twitter: http://twitter.com/marcfawzi

The smoke signal was, as far as I’ve read, invented by native American Indians.

The way it works, as far as what I’ve gathered, is similar to a primitive blogging system, used mostly for publishing emergency or battle related information.

The tribe would send smoke-encoded messages for *anyone* who understood the particular encoding system, where the encoding technique is developed over time, in an emergent fashion, by several tribes unknown to each other who happen to recognize the patterns (that make up a language) in each others messages and produce their own messages in the same language, adopting, modifying or dropping whatever patterns they feel like, while generally sticking to the most successful/survivable patterns, thus evolving the language, its grammar, and the medium in a cooperative fashion, in the same way that all natural languages evolve.

So in my experiment, I would put certain messages in the titles of my most-Googled blog posts (the ones that appear in the top 9 links in the Google search result for a given search, e.g. “web 3.0 wikipedia” or “google monopoly” or “p2p dns” etc) which then become visible to my competitors for these search terms (as they are likely to be watching their ranking for these terms in Google search results.)

For instance, I could communicate with my Google search placement competitors by adding certain words to the titles of my most-Googled blog posts like “haha I’m still ahead :)” or some message that can only be understood by those competitors and maybe then we can strike a conversation.

Like every other thinking person, I’m amazed at how we’ve managed to evolve so far in terms of technology while remaining as primitive inside as we’ve ever been since the dawn of what archeologist would agree was the first man or woman. We have yet to evolve to a race that focuses on cooperation and emotional and cultural connectedness. Instead we continue to be in survival-of-the-fittest mode, and Google only reinforces that with algorithms that pit content producers against each other in competition for the scarce attention span/bandwidth of consumers, placing those who¬† have been blessed (like myself) with arbitrarily high search placement in many topics ahead of others who also have something very meaningful to say. I’m not complaining about it for the sake of complaining, but for the sake of our evolution. It’s absolutely insane to continue to base our readership economy or attention economy on mere keywords, linking, like buttons and artificial search engine optimizations: they all can be gamed such that an article that barely touches the subject would place higher in the search results than one that goes really deep and thus has far more meaning (in relation to the subject.)

Anybody with enough brains can game the system when the system is absolutely primitive, like Google search is today. Take the system to a deeper, more evolved level, where meaning not keywords determine the worth of a link (think: Semantic Rank) and we’ll all be better off.

Obviously, detractors will come up with a thousand unfounded excuses that they strongly believe are the reasons why we can’t go there yet, but I dare any triple PhD computer scientist to explain to me what we need to get there besides the sheer human will to cooperate on mass scale?


  1. Wikipedia 3.0: The End of Google?
  2. Designing a Better Web 3.0 Search Engine
  3. Intelligence (Not Content) is King in Web 3.0
  4. Wikipedia 3.0: Three Years Later
  5. Self-Aware Text
  6. Semantic Blog

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0