A search engine to help you find things you don't know about.
August 30, 2002 3:30 PM   Subscribe

A search engine to help you find things you don't know about. gnod stands for The Global Network of Dreams, and is a test of artificial intelligence. Building a database from the user choices, it helps you find books, music and misc. other by having you enter in things that you like, and based on what other people like, it shows you stuff you ought to like, too (which is slightly different from what Amazon does, showing you what other people have bought). Don't know if all the Amazon Associate links detract from it all or not
posted by crunchland (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(Link should be www.gnod.net).

What an amazing, incredible time sink! I think I will play with this some more instead of looking for a job like I should be doing.
posted by kate_fairfax at 3:44 PM on August 30, 2002

Entering three profane sexual terms as musical groups, it returned Derek and the Dominoes.

I don't know what to do next
posted by plexi at 3:46 PM on August 30, 2002

(Link should be www.gnod.net).
whoops. thanks.
posted by crunchland at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2002

The UI isn't the greatest though is it?
posted by crayfish at 4:35 PM on August 30, 2002

I've been sucked in. God, it's a Friday evening on a holiday weekend, and I'm playing with a brainy search engine. Sigh.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 4:45 PM on August 30, 2002

The music engine, at least, was looney. The connection logic made little sense. And what's with the generic Amazon links (as opposed to linking to at least linking to the band/artist's specific page)? For example, I ended up with the band London 86 and when I clicked the link, Amazon showed me lots of London material although not a single one was a musical item.

Feh! as my grandmother would have said.
posted by billsaysthis at 4:49 PM on August 30, 2002

i'd get a little more excited if i didn't suspect this was someone re-inventing (or just rehashing) cluster or principal component analysis. which is going to show you a bunch of bands that sound like the average of whatever you choose. average music...

at least in theory. in pratice it seems completely random.

what i'd like is something that takes a bunch of different sounding bands that i like, and tries to find what they have in common when compared to their respective genres - that they've all got similar rhythms, to give a simple example, or that they all share some mathematical property that has no simple translation in language, but which means "sounds damn good" to my brain. then it could recommend music from a completely different genre that i might actually enjoy...
posted by andrew cooke at 5:26 PM on August 30, 2002

Kate Fairfax: "I think I will play with this some more instead of looking for a job like I should be doing."

I looked for a job consistently for an entire year and all my efforts proved futile. Then, just when things looked bleak and I figured the wolves were gonna break down my door, a good job just practically fell in my lap. It came almost out of the blue, despite all the efforts I'd put elsewhere.

So I think you're on to something, Kate. Good plan. Give yourself a chance to accidently trip outside the box you've been looking in. Maybe using Gnod, a service that helps you explore what you like, will let your brain re-examine what you wanna do with the rest of your life and then you can approach your job seeking from a completely invigorated perspective.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2002

As for me, I gave Gnod a try on the music section, put in three bands I like, and it gave me a Trance DJ. ??? I think the database needs a lot more work.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:54 PM on August 30, 2002

ps some of us are looking forwards to resigning at the end of next month! jobless? - ahh, the delights... :-) (ok, so i'm horribly lucky - but maybe you should give up job hunting and look for someone that (a) you would quite fancy living with and (b) earns enough for you both to live on 'til something better comes round) (and yes, i've been reading walden too)
posted by andrew cooke at 6:00 PM on August 30, 2002

Movie Lens from the U of Minn is a similar idea. You enter ratings for movies you've seen and it recommends new movies based on ratings from people with like tastes. It hasn't failed on a recommendation over the last several months I've been using it.
posted by TimeFactor at 6:07 PM on August 30, 2002 [1 favorite]

Hrm, first musical grouping:
smashing pumpkins, nada surf, and cibo matto. I got back foulk implosion and remmy zero, and a bunch of bands I'd never heard of.

second musical grouping:
garbage, outkast, and utada hikaru (jpop). The results seemed pretty random, and included matchbox 20 which I hate. One of the groups they gave me was "morning misume" which I had downloaded earlier in a random jpop grab. I also got a bunch of hip hop I don't like that much.

I dunno if this thing really works that well.
posted by delmoi at 7:14 PM on August 30, 2002

Well, heading for the music route is a logical first step, as likes and dislikes can jump into clarity quicker via music tastes than many other interests. But my route keeps leaving me with solo selections (floating alone) which then keep repeating. I was hoping for some new, unkown to me, artist to appear grouped with my otherwise first choice from the spray. But alas...
I'll try another category next...
posted by HTuttle at 7:20 PM on August 30, 2002

I find that all music works pretty well for introducing me to artists/bands I might be inclined to like. I can spend hours there compiling wish lists of bands I've never heard before
posted by stefanie at 7:26 PM on August 30, 2002 [1 favorite]

Trashcan Sinatras + The The + Medaeval Baebes = ELVIS??

Just because I was married by him doesn't mean I want to listen to him.

Dunno, this seems like a lot of tools out there (beginning with the ancient and defunct firefly) under a fancy name, only not as accurate.
posted by frykitty at 8:33 PM on August 30, 2002

I think it's still early in the game with this thing, and the database is still embryonic. So you'll need to help feed it, by clicking on the "I like it," "I don't like it," and "I don't know it" buttons. So if it comes up with something completely bizarre, you have to tell it so.
posted by crunchland at 8:53 PM on August 30, 2002

I tried authors: Neil Gaiman, Herman Melville and Samuel Delany gave me... Herbert Hesse? Who is HH? I couldn't even find a decent website about him.
posted by slipperywhenwet at 9:17 PM on August 30, 2002

Who is HH?

Herbert Hesse wrote a very famous book about a man called Sid Arthur. And inspired a semi-famous rock group.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:31 PM on August 30, 2002

You say Herbert, I say Herman, let's call the whole thing off.
posted by ook at 12:32 AM on August 31, 2002

lelilo, don't forget The Grass Beet Came.
posted by taz at 2:27 AM on August 31, 2002

I started looking at collaborative-filtering and the Movielense project after reading an excellent essay by Malcom Gladwell called The Science of the Sleeper.Sadly large scale projects like Alexa seem more liekly to work that a quicky effort like this.
posted by laukf at 8:04 AM on August 31, 2002

It worked pretty well for me. Of the couple dozen bands it returned, one I didn't like, four I'd never heard of, and the rest were spot-on good stuff. I know what I'll be looking for next time I'm at Musicwerks...
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:58 AM on August 31, 2002

It didn't work at all for me. I fed it three well-known, prolific anthropologists and it recommended:

The Adrian Mole Diaries : The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 : The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, by Sue Townsend

After about ten "don't like" clicks, it grew exasperated at my distate for Judy Blume ripoffs (including Blume), and suggested Boy George, W.B. Yeats, and Jack Kerouac in that order.

My experience with Amazon recommendations has been disappointing. It seems too precise: if I buy a book on X topic or by Y author, it wants me to buy twenty more things with X in the title or by Y. I already knew that! I have hope for GNOD.
posted by rschram at 8:53 PM on August 31, 2002

This is kind of weird. Didn't Amazon originally buy the Firefly site which did the early "if you like that, you'll this" music thing so well? And now another site is doing it in order to get you to buy things from Amazon so they can make affiliate money? What?
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:21 PM on September 1, 2002

No, Amazon.com did not buy Firefly. That was Microsoft. They turned it into something called "Passport," which you might have heard of.
posted by kindall at 8:37 PM on September 1, 2002

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