Art Press Release 18 December 2005

Hack the Google self.referentialism - Google Will Eat Itself

Bari/Vienna, 18 December 2005
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How can a dictator be funny for the people? One chance is to know how to entertain the people, while continuing to influence every decision they make, so invisibly maintaining the totalitarian power untouched.

Google's management knows very well how to entertain surfers. They are not a (totalitarian) government, but they are the first, and almost only reference for most of the internet users. Moreover they periodically announce and release new, effective (and entertaining) services. People like these services. People want them and want even more of them.

It's not a Microsoft-like type of monopoly at all. On the Google planet everything works and is easy and funny. Everything is light (as the interface) and tasty (as the images search), resource-rich (as Gmail) or fast and updated (as Google News). So the "cream" of fun and the "strawberries" of interesting results are flavouring the Google dictatorship. In fact we're talking of a monopoly, or so, in a certain number of strategical net economy sectors.

The Google database is an incredibly valuable bunch of data. It's constituted by the most visited pages of the net. But they are selected through the Google's page rank algorithm. It's the paradigm of their self-referential game: the moment they had enough credibility they established the web filter criteria, and then, being the first source, they decided what the content of this source would be.

On the other hand the database of searches and the requests of other services (news, images, cheap prices, personal mail) is even much more relevant. In fact, it can be localized and statistically analyzed, and crossing locative, general and product searches, constitutes the secret dream of every Internet marketing executive. It deals to a frightening perspective of 'profiling' the Google's users.

The common perception is that Google offers chances of augmenting the personal information power in exchange of small and digestible amount of advertisement.


But all the recorded data (the queries and their respective users) are simply ignored by the users, which are hypnotized by an almost perfect virtual machine.

This funny empire has another crucial element: the advertisement. Goggle is the biggest player in the net advertisement business (actually adv is its core business). Being the most visited search engine, it attracts billions of users. Their billions of eyeballs are seeing Google's pages with the above mentioned textual advertisments, that everybody can fairly buy (AdWords).

On the other end, tons of people have become "publishers" through the giant blog phenomenon. So they are entitled to share the bits of profits through the Adsense program. They accept to display this tiny text advertisment in exchange of a small amount of money for every click on them. This process is protected and monitored for preventing abuse.

The final (actual) scenario is Google as the giant middleman. It sucks money from the advertisers offering a targeted portion of the global webspace. And it gives spare changes to the publishers for their collaboration. It sucks infos from the websites (and news, images, prices) and it releases it to the user's queries. Being in the middle it is more and more the unavoidable balancing center of the system. But we're not talking about a natural systems. We're talking about business and predominance.

Google's position is predominant in the same moment it enteres a new business field with a new service. It's the Google effect: creating consensus on a new business, even if it instantly gets the predominant position.

The greatest enemy of such a giant is not another giant: it's the parasite. If enough parasitites suck small amounts of money in this self-referentialism embodiment, they will empty this artificial mountain of data and its inner risk of digital totalitarianism.