The crucial thing to design in a videogame is the moment when nothing happens. Is our player still immersed and enchanted when they release control? When the only verb available is the most important one of all: to be.
Yeah, sure, Google makes its money from ‘advertising’ — but what we see is just the froth sitting on a much deeper ocean. What we don’t see is their real business, cognition as a scaling phenomenon — everything from the micrologic of how someone’s thoughts develop to the macrologic of how social constructions mutate and morph globally over time. And if it isn’t already, their next business will inevitably be *shaping* it, because given their structural role there’s no bright-one boundary. That boundary is what the whole ‘don’t be evil’ thing is about: a smart idea that turns out to invoke something very ancient. The interesting question is who, within Google, knows that well enough to articulate it. If you think ‘information’ is a commodity, something magically outside of you (which is what dataviz is all about), then Google’s mission, ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ means one thing; but when you realize that information isn’t just a commodity, or rather how deeply commodities structure who we are, individually and collectively, that mission means something very different.
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