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Rise of the Plagiosphere (18 May 2005)
What NASA did to our conception of the planet, Web-based technologies are beginning to do to our understanding of our written thoughts. We look at our ideas with less wonder, and with a greater sense that others have already noted what we're seeing for the first time. The plagiosphere is arising from three movements: Web indexing, text matching, and paraphrase detection.

The first of these movements began with the invention of programs called Web crawlers, or spiders. Since the mid-1990s, they have been perusing the now billions of pages of Web content, indexing every significant word found, and making it possible for Web users to retrieve, free and in fractions of a second, pages with desired words and phrases.
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