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So-called 'Smart Browsing' Sucks
1998-11-09 17:36:00


Laughable Technology
 
Godamn these voices in my head!
-- Kip Kinkel

 

So, I have to say the dumbest technology I've seen in a while is the "What's Related" doohickey on Netscape Navigator 4.5. If you don't use 4.5, here's the scoop: there's a little button on the address bar that says "What's Related". When you click on it, it pauses a sec, and then it shows you the titles of about 4-5 sites that are somehow "Related" to the site you're looking at.

First off, it's a lame adaptation of a stand-alone Win32 product, Alexa (http://www.alexa.com/), a parasite program that gloms onto your browser and obsessively watches where you go. But whereas Alexa shows you 'related' sites based on other user's browsing habits, AND lets you submit 'related' URLs, Netscape's "What's Related" seems to pull the URLs directly out of its nether orifice.

It's absolutely horrible. It's degenerate 1995 search-engine technology. I think they must have bought the engine from a team of Bulgarian and Israeli virus writers, because it is uniformly useless.

Take, for example, our beloved Pigdog Journal. When I click on "What's Related" from http://www.pigdog.org, here's what I get:

* Digital Journey Themes (http://ziris.syr.edu/themes.html). This is a page of broken images that hasn't been updated since 1994. I don't know whether to take this as a comment on our staying power on the Internet, or on our lackadaisical approach to site update.

* 1002situations (http://fgidec1.tuwien.ac.at/1002situations/) Some crazy Austrian digerati crap. Sample "What is your homeland?" d00ds, by international law, Germans are not allowed to talk about 'homelands', OK?

* ResRocket (http://www.resrocket.com/) Win32 software for musical collaboration on the Internet. In case you haven't noticed, we don't do that.

* Frequently Asked Questions about 0Rez (http://www.cais.net/elgar/0zpxd.htm). Boring Usenet freaky stuff. 'We so freaky!' Gar. I _hope_ we're not 'related' to this bozo.

* 2013 (http://www.2013.com/). This looks like Mondo 2000 in 1991. What up with these people? I see nothing but links and fancy ray-tracing. How are we related? I suspect Quaker State Tapioca Rupture is involved.

So, what's all that shit got to do with _US_? Simple: they're all listed on the Yahoo "Cyberculture" (oh, it pains me to write that) page, So's PDJ. Case solved. Netscape spidered Yahoo and called themselves a Web portal. (http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Cultures_and_Groups/Cybercu lture/).

Anyways, my point is, "What's Related" blows. Netscape obviously has no idea what it's doing with this thing. They should stick to milking their Start page and leave these distracting buttons off my browser.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

nvious@pigdog.org


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