“If Google went in this direction with the Blogger acquisition, it would hearken back to one of the seminal documents of the computing age: Vannevar Bush’s 1946 ‘As We May Think’ essay, which envisioned a new tool to augment human memory. Bush’s imaginary device, called the Memex, would help manage the ever-accelerating explosion of information in the world. Bush imagined the Memex as a machine of connected documents that from one angle looks a great deal like the modern, Web-enabled computer. But in one crucial respect, Bush’s vision differed from today’s Web: He placed great importance on the trails created as the user moved through information space, assuming that a record of those trails would be of great use in amplifying the signal of human memory. In many ways, our networked computers have wildly exceeded Bush’s vision, but our trail-recording tools are still woefully undernourished.” Steven Johnson
Johnson has been observing the connections between the Memex and the Web for some time now. His article expands thoughtfully on some of the issues I raised rather hastily in “On the Trail of the Memex,” which I had mostly written before the news broke, but revised in order to include the speculations about Blogger.