• The Editor

Google Images holds the key

This isn't really as dull as 'Just Google it'.

It's using keywords to help your brain make connections it otherwise can't do (or can't be bothered to), because your head doesn't have quite as many bits of data inside it as Google does.

Before we get to this Faster Idea, let's chew over the number of bytes (ahem) of data the internet has to play with.

According to a Cisco estimate (in this article from futurist Bernard Marr), the global internet's collective volume reached one Zettabyte in 2016.

That's big. A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes. Then there's petabytes, which are 1,000 terabytes. Then exabytes, which are 1,000 petabytes. And finally, Zettabytes, which are 1,000 exabytes.

So that's 1 gigabyte (which you can probably get your head around) x 1000 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000.

Okay, the human brain has 100 billion connections. So it's no slouch. But that's a drop in the ocean next to the internet. And let's face it, most of us never bother using it to its full potential.

So we might as well use all the internet's pieces of data - and its fancy ways of connecting them - to our advantage.

This Faster Ideas tip is like one of those visual association games.

Let's say you need inspiration on a particular subject, industry, word, colour or object. Put that word or phrase into Google's search bar, and hit Images.

The algorithms within Google will then connect that to billions of images. Yes, the first few pages might be a bit obvious and be things you've thought about already.

But keep going through the pages, and after about page 3-4 you'll probably start to see things you would never have associated with that particular subject. Maybe that's because in another language or culture the word means something else (Colon Washing Powder anyone?). It could be that a significant person has been linked to that search term - someone you've maybe never heard of. Or there's a connection to a location, historical place, a song, a TV show, whatever.

You get the picture (ahem). It's a Faster Ideas way to send your brain in another direction and help you make new connections - ones you couldn't possibly have made, because you don't have a Zettabyte's worth of information in your head.