Since the dawn of the internet, mankind has been looking for way to surf the web together, simultaneously, in a single browser. Okay maybe not, but that didn’t stop Swedish artist Jonas Lund from enabling people to do just that in his We See in Every Direction project. I would have called it “Browsing with Strangers.”
Anyway, you might be wondering what it’s like to use the same browser – at the same time – with random strangers. Wired writer Liz Stinson did some in-the-wild testing to find out:
I decided to give Lund’s browser a test run. I launched We See and noticed two other cursors flitting about the screen. Suddenly, text started to fill the URL bar: “Are we the only ones on this browser at the moment,” one of my fellow surfers asked. We were. In the span of two minutes, the page jumped from the Google France home screen to a news story about soccer to an image search for “lovely shit.” That’s when I decided to lead our group over to Wired.com. We made brief stops by Gadget Lab, this story about whales and Underwire before hopping over to the Tumblr, “Local People With Their Arms Crossed.” My group appeared to have good taste. From there, things got a little weird and a little too NSFW to mention here, but what do you expect from the wild west of shared web surfing?
On May 29, Lund hosted an official Surf Party that drew around 100 people. At any given time, there were at least 25 cursors on the browser vying for control. At one point, Google got so confused that it threw out a captcha, unwittingly presenting the group with a hilarious challenge. “While solving a captcha normally isn’t so difficult, trying to solve it when 25 people share the same text box and each of them are presented with a different captcha was pretty chaotic,” Lund said. “That lasted around 10 minutes and was just fantastic to watch.”