Searching the Matrix

Finding stuff out

There is no Matrix equivalent of Bing or Google Search. Like the political map, the informational one has Balkanised: split up, divided, and almost hopelessly fragmented. To search the Matrix, then, is not to enter some text into a box and get your ranked results in milliseconds. No, it’s a good deal more complicated than that. It often takes between several minutes and double-digit hours. What’s going on during that time?

The Matrix is divided into hosts. In some ways, a host is a little like a modern-day website; you can visit it, and then interact with the content it presents to you. You can go to a screamsheet’s host, for example, and read the current headlines, and search back issues. But unlike a modern-day website, you can’t deep link into a specific file in a host; you can’t build indices that span lots of hosts, and a file on one host can’t directly reference a different file on another host. The divisions between hosts are rigid. Hence: no Google Search.

So the simplest and crudest Matrix search, then, consists of going to a specific, trusted host and searching just that host’s contents using whatever search engine it might present to you. For example, you might go to the public library, and use it to search through reference books. Or to a particular news org’s host and search their historical archives.

Of course, this only gets you one take on the information - and in the Sixth World, most media is dangerously biased. So this isn’t a very good technique. Instead, xxx

The next stage of a Matrix search is sifting the results.