My PC Needs ESP
Google's Instant Pages and the joys of a computer that can read your mind.
Is this sort of intelligence plausible? Of all the tech giants, Google seems the most interested in using data mining to make predictions about user behavior. Beyond its search engine and browser, there are mind-reading tricks in Gmail, too. (Type in one e-mail recipient, and it offers suggestions for others whom you typically e-mail at the same time.) Since Google now makes two operating systems—Android and Chrome OS—it's likely that we'll see this philosophy extend across entire devices soon. The real coup, though, would be if Microsoft began building intelligence into its operating system. There are more than a billion Windows users worldwide, and we do the same damn things every day. Steve Ballmer, we need your help.
Farhad Manjoo is Slate's technology columnist and the author of True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.