An index card (or system card in Australian English) consists of heavy paper cut to a standard size, used for recording and storing small amounts of discrete data. It was invented by Carl Linnaeus, around 1760.
Big Brother noun [S] big brother 兄; （普通B- B-） 独裁者.
a government, ruler or person in authority that has complete power and tries to control people's behaviour and thoughts, and limit their freedom
Google as friend, or Big Brother
John Arlidge visits the Googleplex to hear about the company's plans for world domination
October 21, 2007 12:50 PM
The Sunday Times Magazine has a huge piece on Google. Who's looking at you?, by former Observer (etc) regular John Arlidge, who visited the Googleplex like a good travel writer. It shows how the behemoth looks to someone who isn't a tech specialist, which is to say, scarily like some sort of Big Brother operation that wants to plant chips in our brains and track us everywhere:
Google's overall goal is to have a record of every e-mail we have ever written, every contact whose details we have recorded, every file we have created, every picture we have taken and saved, every appointment we have made, every website we have visited, every search query we have typed into its home page, every ad we have clicked on, and everything we have bought online. It wants to know and record where we have been and, thanks to our search history of airlines, car-hire firms and MapQuest [sic: he means Google Maps], where we are going in the future and when.
But don't worry, it's all for your own good:
Brin and Page were obsessed with recording, categorising and indexing anything and everything, and then making it available to anyone with internet access because they genuinely believed -- and still do -- that it is a morally good thing to do. It may sound hopelessly hippie-ish and wildly hypocritical coming from a couple of guys worth £10 billion each, but Brin and Page insist they are not, and never have been, in it for the money. They see themselves as latter-day explorers, mapping human knowledge so that others can find trade routes in the new information economy.
Sadly, if you read the story online, the Times Online's Web staff have lost almost all the last page of text (page 43 -- roughly 25%, at a crude estimate) and it ends in mid air: "If, however, you share your web history with Google, it will know that you like Italian food best because you search for it the most, and it will know the area you."
Since this is a colour magazine story, you will naturally expect a feeble conclusion, but here it is anyway:
[Google] does not simply want to be a good search engine on the web, it wants to be the web.
Will it get there? In the end, it's up to us. Google has only gone from being the most famous misspelling since "potatoe" to a verb recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary because you, me -- in fact, almost all of us -- use it. If we carry on logging on, it will carry on growing. And growing. If we don't, it won't. The choice -- the click -- is ours.
That would have been reasonable enough a few years ago, but it ignores all the interesting questions about what happens when Google pwns the Web, if it doesn't already. Google isn't just harvesting clicks, it is changing the whole online environment for the worse.
For example, many sites are no longer designed just for readers, and sometimes not for readers at all: they are designed to score well in Google, and in particular, to drive revenue from Google AdWords.
And for the tens or hundreds of millions of sites that live or die by AdWords, Google has life or death power over them. It can change the rules at any time, and you are not entitled to know this. Nor are you entitled to know what the rules are. As I've said before, Google acts as its own policeman, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner, and you have no right of appeal. The best you can do is suck up to Google and hang on to a percentage of the money your efforts generate, while Google rakes in billions.
Google is, of course, benign, but there is always a feeling that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Come back in five years when Google is 100 times more powerful.
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