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Philip Maddocks: Google will offer humans their thoughts back in real time

Philip Maddocks

Google rolled out a new initiative today that will allow humans access to all their thoughts as they think them in real time.

"We think much of the confusion people are feeling these days — whether it’s trying to decide about the safety of receiving an inoculation against the H1N1 virus, the viability of the economy or which blouse not to buy — stems not from a scarcity of intelligence or information, but the inability of the human brain to deliver real-time thinking, that is, to instantly convey to you what you were thinking when you first thought of what you are thinking right now," Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google Inc., said during a conference call with shareholders. "This new Google application will address this shortcoming of the brain by enabling every person on Google Earth to access their own thoughts as they thought them. It will make you a better parent, a better child, and a better Scrabble player. Your memory will now be something that Google manages for you."

He said Google’s new initiative will not necessarily make you a better thinker, but if you are a bad thinker, the new application will certainly help you become a better organized bad thinker.

"If you are wondering when you first started thinking that President Obama may not be a citizen of this country, or when it was that you became convinced that former Vice President Dick Cheney has blood on his teeth, then this new Google product can help you, and it will help you in real time," Schmidt said.

Asked about the sudden nature of the announcement of the roll out for its real-time thinking application, a Google spokesman for the company’s Search Products said that deals between fast-growing products like Google and human thoughts take a long time to come together.

"This is not something that happens on the scale of hours, it's something that happens on the scale of months," he said, adding that Google's addition of real-time thought data will fill a "critical gap."

"Whenever there's new data that's emerging and growing as fast as we're seeing with thinking, it's really about making sure that we have the content so we can search for it and find it for our users," said the spokesman.

Analysts say Google will likely profit off the venture by customizing ads to the individual thoughts in the company’s thoughts data base. They say the company’s unveiling of a new product that taps into the very consciousness of the world is a logical extension of the company’s ambition to attain dominion over its users and turn a profit while doing it. They point our that humans, the 200,000-year-old species start-up, has become an Internet sensation popularized by celebrities and government figures, whose exploits attract tens of millions of visitors every month.

The company is also rumored to be working on a Google Brain that would allow users access not only to their own real-time thoughts but those of great thinkers of the past such as Aristotle, Pascal, Jefferson, Einstein and HAL

"We have no idea how much you can make off of offering real-time search of thoughts," said a veteran search industry analyst and editor of The Search for a New Engine, an industry blog. "But you can bet Google will find a way to make it profitable."

A spokeswoman for Google said the company’s new thinking service, tentatively titled "Rodin" after Auguste Rodin, the sculptor of "The Thinker" statue, will be formally unveiled at an event in front of the Lincoln Monument next Wednesday.

"I think Lincoln would have embraced this new leap forward in data collection," she said. "His speeches were good — remarkable, even, given the limited technology of his day. But imagine what he might have been able to do with is Gettysburg Address if he had access to Rodin. Picture how much more he could have elaborated on his own thoughts — ranked them even — if he had real-time access to them? As it was, he had to limit himself to the narrow scope of invoking the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and redefining the Civil War."

Rodin will not only allow users to access their own thoughts, but will sample them against other thoughts on similar topics — much the way some programs suggest new songs you might want to listen to based on your own choice of music.

So for example, if you search for your own thoughts on Rod Blagojevich, a Google page devoted to the impeached former governor of Illinois, will offer lyrics to Elvis Presley songs, photos of a hair brush, video of former House Majority Leader and aspiring dancer Tom DeLay, and dates for all the reality television shows on which Mr. Blagojevich is planning to appear. Users would also have access to streaming services of Mr. Blagojevich’s thoughts on himself.

"This new tool is not just another Google effort to improve the human condition or the home planet, it has the potential to save the careers of many politicians who may otherwise have blurted out what they thought they were thinking," noted one political observer. "Google Rodin will remind our leaders — all of us, really — that we should continue to live orderly lives and leave the thinking to Google."

Philip Maddocks can be reached atpmaddock@cnc.com.