Felix Heyes and Ben West collaborate on a book titled ‘Google’, a quirky compilation of the first images that appear for words from a standard English dictionary on the search engine extraordinaire Google.
A standard dictionary consists of around 171,476 (source: Google, what else!), some of which we use in our daily conversations and some of which Salman Rushdie uses in his daily conversations. Felix Heyes and Ben West selected 21,000 from this set and captured the images from Google to create a collage of 1240 pages. All the images appear exactly the way they’d appear in a dictionary: from A to Z.
The ‘Google’ book’s proprietors used two PHP scripts, one for taking the text list of words from a dictionary and download each corresponding image in order, the other arranges them in columns and outputs a PDF. This PDF is then printed into a hardbound book that’s full of rich images sourced from Google. I am still unclear about the copyright issues of these images as they are not owned by the people behind the book and also about Google’s take on this book that simply uses its name for the title.
What’s the need for this book when you can just Google the images? Dr. Frankenstein (Ben West) comes to the rescue of his creation with this explanation: “It’s really an unfiltered, uncritical record of the state of human culture in 2012. I would estimate about half of the book is revolting medical photos, porn, racism or bad cartoons.” True that! Most images that are found on websites and blogs reflect the current mindsets of people. The images from these sources find their way into Google searches. Apart from being a reflection of the human psyche circa 2012, I feel it makes for a fantastic coffee table book (a heavy coffee table book though), full of intriguing pictures, that works well because of the human affinity to pictures as compared to words. Plus, if your internet acts out, you can always browse through the pages of this book.