My wife came across this in the The Times (Oct 19, 2013) under the headline Beowuluf? It’s not as epic as Google’s rules.
Apparently researchers at the University of Nottingham have incorporated a standard literacy level test used by teachers (using only word and sentence length) into a browser plug in called Literatin and compare internet texts to established literary works.
Then using this tool to look at terms and conditions of various websites they found…
Google’s are more complex than Beowulf!
Facebook’s are worse and similar in complexity to The Prince by Machiavelli!
No wonder we just whizz through them and click accept.
It amazes me that we tolerate this given that so much of the development effort put into these web services and sites is around usability and the user experience, Google is popular because it’s got one box and knows what you are thinking, and yet they can’t put their terms and conditions into plain English. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but I think I know why.
Update: I wonder if their new customer pages have the same readability as 50 Shades of Grey?
- Beowulf? It’s not as epic as Google’s rules (thetimes.co.uk)
- Google’s terms more complex than Beowulf (bcslaw.wordpress.com)
“This is an excellent book” – I couldn’t stop myself saying it out loud. You have to read it, it’s great as just a book or a Blissfully Ignorant Book (BIB). It has the feeling of being extremely well constructed and worked on, so either Terry Hayes is a genius or is a very good editor of his own work. Just read it. I am Pilgrim