Monday, September 13, 2010

Google Instant is trying to kill me - The Guardian

Charlie Brooker | Google Instant is trying to kill me | Comment is free | The Guardian

Last week I realised the internet wants to kill me. I was trying to write a script in a small room with nothing but a laptop for company. Perfect conditions for quiet contemplation – but thanks to the accompanying net connection, I may as well have been sharing the space with a 200-piece marching band.

I entered the room at 10.30am. Because I was interested in the phone-hacking story, I'd set up an automatic Twitter search for the term "Coulson" (eavesdropping, essentially: he'd hate it). Whenever someone mentioned his name, a window would pop up in the corner of my screen to alert me. Often their messages included a link to a webpage, which I'd end up skim-reading. This was on top of the other usual web distractions: emails, messageboards, self-deluding "research" on Wikipedia, and so on.

By 1pm I'd written precisely three lines of script. Yet my fingers had scarcely left the keyboard. My brain felt like a loose, whirring wheel that span with an audible buzz yet never quite touched the ground.

At around 2pm, Google announced the final straw.

I'm starting to feel like an unwitting test subject in a global experiment conducted by Google, in which it attempts to discover how much raw information it can inject directly into my hippocampus before I crumple to the floor and start fitting uncontrollably.

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