Claremont Insider: Piano Piano and Claremont Turn Up in Bleeding Edge Meme

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Piano Piano and Claremont Turn Up in Bleeding Edge Meme

Okay, this is complicated, and only propeller-heads have much of a chance of following it.

There has been a disturbance in the Internet Force the past few days about "Google Instant", the newly-enabled search feature on Google that allows you to see intermediate results as you type your search term into the box. (Thus far, it seems to work only sporadically)

For example, searching on "Claremont Insider" might produce the following first suggestions and instantaneous search pages for them:

C: craigslist
CL: club penguin
CLA: claim jumper
CLAR: claremont colleges
CLARE: claremont colleges
CLAREM: claremont colleges
CLAREMO: claremont colleges
CLAREMON: claremont colleges
CLAREMONT: claremont colleges
CLAREMONT I: claremont insider

...and there you are! The entire search results page for "Claremont Insider" pops up. You didn't have to type the whole word "Insider", just the "I", not the "nsider", saving you 2.4 seconds per search or thousands and thousands of hours over your lifetime. Google does this by serving new search results with each letter typed--some 20 sub-searches for each information search on average, according to reports.

(The sustainability harpies will probably cast the evil eye on this given the results of this 2009 study that said that each single Google search generated 7 grams of CO2. Now, with this new feature, that will be multiplied by twenty to 140 grams of CO2. And, with those thousands and thousands of hours added to our lifetimes, we will probably make even more searches. Pounds and Tons of CO2. An inconvenient truth.)

How does this relate to Claremont, you ask?

Well, Friday morning the Huffington Post carried an article about a new pastime using Google Instant and YouTube. It amounts to typing the lyrics of a song into Google Instant, saving the page images, and setting these to the music of the song. The HuffPo embeds a couple of examples. One is Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues, (lame) and the other is Tom Lehrer's, The Elements (excellent). They are calling this a Lyrical Google Instant Search Meme.

Watch the Lehrer piece, The Elements. It's only 1:25 and consists, as Lehrer told us on the 1960s album, of the names of the chemical elements set to a possibly recognizable theme [from Gilbert and Sullivan].

As the search auto-complete terms flash by, note at 1:14 that piano piano claremont ca flashes by:

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

That's it. Not really all that earthshaking, but moderately charming. What's really amazing is that people have enough time on their hands to do this, and other people have enough time on their hands to write about it.