Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.
Google’s algorithm offers searches after just a few keystrokes when typing in the search box, in an attempt to predict what the user wants to type. The combination of these suggestions can be funny, absurd, dadaistic - and sometimes even deeply moving.
There is, however, more to these poems than just the occasional chuckle. The Google autocomplete suggestions are based on previous searches by actual people all around the world. In the cold blue glow of their computer screens, they ask “why am I alone” and “why do fat girls have high standards”. They wonder how to roll a joint and whether it is too early to say “I love you”. They seek information on ninjas, cannibals, and Rihanna, and sometimes they just ask “am I better off dead?”
Despite the seemingly open nature of Western society, forbidden questions and thoughts still remain. When faced with these issues, people do not reach out to one another, instead they turn to Google in the privacy of their own homes. The all-knowing search engine accepts and embraces these questions and tangles them with popular song lyrics, book titles and names of celebrities: often with hilarious results.
Obviously Google is not Shakespeare, Whitman or Dickinson - it can not illuminate the unknown. But it does reveal our inner workings, our fears and prejudices, secrets and shames, the hope and longing of a modern individual.
This is why Google Poetics is important.
November 4th 2012
Sampsa Nuotio and Raisa Omaheimo
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