Google will define the new web syntax
May 9, 2011
Google's role in determining the future of web syntax and its impact on language and writing.
How to write a headline for an article on your blog? Until today, if the blog was only yours, the answer would probably be "however I want". In truth, it still is, but if you want someone to read what is written on it, you have to follow what this modern oracle says. More important than the quality of your content, more important than the number of "likes", more important than the size of your community on a social network, is your positioning in the [[Google]] search. The American company has become omnipotent in the condition of telling people where what they are looking for is. That's exactly why Google's algorithm is going to do what all the linguists and language teachers who made grammatical reforms always wanted: it will determine how people write.
Perhaps the common user has not yet noticed (in fact, the common citizen rarely realizes what is happening around him. As the German unifier Bismarck would say, "if people knew how laws and sausages are made, they would never sleep again"), but media generators have radically changed their way of writing. Shorter headlines, more full of [[keywords]], and with these keywords as close as possible to the beginning of the sentence, more repetitive mention of the same in the first paragraph of the text. In a few years, linguists and grammarians around the world will be able to see the extent of Google's interference in the way we write. And in the way we speak? Will there be a change? It's likely, but the answer is impossible to give now.
We got used in the 20th century to being guinea pigs of ourselves. Only after almost two decades of intense use of mobile telephony does the industry admit that the radiation from the devices (and the antennas) is carcinogenic; we smoked for decades causing high lung cancer rates (even knowing they were carcinogenic) because the tobacco industry paid academics to work against society. Now, let's see what influence a company that holds as much power as Orson Welles' [[Citizen Kane]] has on language.
Google's incursions are much less risky than those involving health and other details of the destinies of humanity, but still, they are of astronomical dimensions. What was the influence of Alexander the Great's campaign on the customs and language of the Hellenized peoples? And what relevance did Rome have in the expansion of Latin as the base language of Western civilization? In the changes that Google is making, everything will be documented. Cached.