firmament.to (2000)

firmament.to is intended as an exploration of the promise of hypertext. It parses any publically available HTML page and turns every word it can into a link -- click on a word and you are taken to a relevant page, as determined by Google. When every word is turned into a link, is that empowering or numbing? When context is stripped so callously from links, does that lay the seeds for chaos, or inspiration?

firmament.to uses a few server-side Perl scripts to do its parsing. When it was first programmed in July 2000, it used a virtual browser to spider search results from Google. In the winter of 2001, that was discovered and the IP address was blocked, since auto-indexing Google in this way is explicitly against their Terms of Service. The subsequent release of Google's Web API made this software possible again.

Full Description

firmament.to is intended as an exploration of the promise of hypertext. It parses any publically available HTML page and turns every word it can into a link -- click on a word and you are taken to a relevant page, as determined by Google. When every word is turned into a link, is that empowering or numbing? When context is stripped so callously from links, does that lay the seeds for chaos, or inspiration?

firmament.to uses a few server-side Perl scripts to do its parsing. When it was first programmed in July 2000, it used a virtual browser to spider search results from Google. In the winter of 2001, that was discovered and the IP address was blocked, since auto-indexing Google in this way is explicitly against their Terms of Service. The subsequent release of Google's Web API made this software possible again.

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