ChapterÂ 14.Â Digital Environment
No metaphor is more misleading than âsmart.â
Variant Modes and Digital Places
THE RULE-DRIVEN MODES AND simulated affordances of interfaces are also the objects, events, and layouts that function as places, whether on a screen alone or in the ambient digital activity in our surroundings. So, changing the mode of objects can affect the mode of places as well, especially when objects work as parts of interdependent systems.
For example, letâs take a look at a software-based place: Googleâs search site. Suppose that we want to research what qualities to look for in a new kitchen knife. When we run a query using Googleâs regular mobile Web search, we see the sort of general results to which weâve become accustomed: supposedly neutral results prioritized by Googleâs famed algorithm, which prioritizes based on the general ârankâ of authority, determined by analyzing links across the Web. Google also defines âqualityâ for sites in general. On the desktop Google site, there are paid ad-word links that are clearly labeled as sponsored results, but the main results are easy to distinguish from the paid ones.
But Googleâs Shopping site is a different story: when searching for products there, all of the results are affected by paid promotion, as illustrated in FigureÂ 14-1. I actually wasnât aware of this until a colleague pointed it out to me at lunch one day.