How Far Computers Have Come

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 25 2012 @ 4:46pm

David Auerbach chronicles the cognitive difficulties of early computers:

Almost two decades on, it’s easy to forget the mess that resulted when you tried to use the early search engines—Lycos, AltaVista, Northern Light. In addition to spotty coverage of the nascent web, none of them had any particularly skillful way of ordering their results. …. One early search engine attempted to mask its inadequacy by achieving a semantic understanding of the queries being entered in its search boxes. Ask Jeeves (now known simply as Ask) encouraged users to type actual questions rather than keywords: "Where can I buy shoes?" rather than "shoe shops."

Meanwhile, by the end of this year we will have Google glasses that act like a smartphone and look like Oakleys:

They will also have a unique navigation system. "The navigation system currently used is a head tilting to scroll and click," [blogger Seth Weintraub] wrote this month. "We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users." … The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees.