The philosopher, the butterfly, and the cache

Everyone knows that Google keeps a cache of the internet; if you think it through, it’s obvious that this means there are at least two internets — the one where all the sites actually are, and the copy of everything in Google’s cache. Perhaps there are three or four, if you count Yahoo, Baidu, and others. So which is the real internet, and which is the copy? Obviously, I would like to believe that the page I am writing on now is the real one. But would it be on the internet at all if it weren’t copied into some search engine’s cache? Since that copy is what searchers are looking for, it’s at least as true that the Google version of my site is the real one, and this is just a colony, supplying raw material to the metropolis. Thinking of the real internet as the one that resides inside Google’s closed network is an interesting and salutary discipline.

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2 Responses to The philosopher, the butterfly, and the cache

  1. “Everyone” can bite me, then, cos every time I ask for something from Google’s “cache” it very obviously goes and fetches it and vandalises it on the fly.

    And in my case of your case, at least, it’s a Bloglines feed that you’re anticipating with your so-called “postings”.

  2. acb says:

    Oh, but it is the cache it searches, for pointers to the stuff that it then returns. Which repesentation counts for more?

    I don’t know enough about bloglines to know what size cache they have, thogh to judge from the frequency with which their databse is down, it must be enormous.

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