Google Groups Art by Paul, Tim Flaherty, Nathan McCoy, Stuart Langridge
Google Groups Art (sometimes called "Google Art") is a hack that uses/abuses the fact that Google Groups color-highlights searchterm queries within Usenet posts it displays. The result is that color images are generated within the Google Groups (Usenet) posts themselves. Google Art first surfaced in summer 2002. [...]
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Google Groups Art

Sometimes people question whether Google Groups Art is ASCII Art. It's even been kicked off alt.ascii-art, the Usenet ASCII art newsgroup. And, it uses color, whereas "traditional" ASCII art is monochrome. But like ASCII art, it's a hack to magically transform plain ASCII text into images - and the hack is the point. However, Google Groups Art actually takes the hackish transformation another step: it transforms informational, text-based newsgroups - and Google's presentation thereof - into a kind of visual art exhibit.
It's especially nice to see an intervention like this happen on Google. Google is one of the world's most ubiquitous software applications, but it's also the mega-meta-monolithic information homogenizer that largely controls what we get to see on the internet. The project demonstrates that without being a system cracker or even especially technical, a mere user can take control of pockets of Google and turn them into something else. It reminds us that no matter how big and powerful its authors might sometimes be, software is not a closed system.

by Amy Alexander, posted 06 Jun 2003


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