Remember a couple months back when I promised you guys I’d post on this?
Well, thanks to a deal with LookSmart, I finally got a chance to write it. It’s over here. From it:
But here’s the rub: There’s a critical difference between curation based on algorithm (Google News) and curation based on human insight (Digg or Wikipedia) – and that difference can be summed up in one word: Voice. In short, sites that allow people to be part of the curation process have voice, and sites that are driven by algorithm, don’t.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t come up with an algorithm that creates a truly human voice. Sure, we can mimic it, but until we solve the Turing Test, the only computer that can create a human voice is, well, a human. And when you put lots of humans together, and give them all a chance to express their voices, you get community-driven media.
Now, how does this all relate to Google Maps and Wikipedia?
In my earlier post, I said “Google Maps isn’t very good.” That was kind of a cheap shot, because in fact the application is great – if what you need is a Map. But the promise of Google Maps goes well beyond looking at a map – currently you can get driving and walking directions, find businesses nearby, calculate traffic delays, and the like. But it’s the promise of what might be layered on top of that where things get really interesting.