Just watched the video lecture of Marisa Mayer (Google) on The Physics of Data talking about the explosion of data posted to the web in recent years. Some interesting issues are flagged – how quickly we can upload and access data, the sheer range and volume of information out there that can improve our understanding of the world around us and how much ‘new’ data is available for us to access. Mayer spends quite some time taking us through the variety of Google tools that are there to help us realise our data needs. Although all very worthy, I actually found her experimentation on how users respond to the use of colour on websites more interesting – we like bluer shades of text more than green, apparently, and even small changes in shade can clearly influence how much more likely we are to click through a series of links. And if we add red tints to the blue, we’re even more easily led. I’m not sure what that tells us about the human psyche, but it was tellingly one of the more interesting aspects of the talk.
What was a little shocking was the rate of growth of our use of the internet and the expansion of things that we’re interested in finding. Over a 90 day period, 20% of Google searches are new – that is, they haven’t been asked before, and 10%-20% of all webpages found are new. The web is growing at an amazing rate. There is more than 80 times more data on the web now than there was in 2002.
If I’m being honest, I couldn’t quite make it through the video’s hour or so on the Wonderful World of Google and ran out of steam about half way through, but some interesting insights still. #LAK12