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Else 4.7.14: So Much Information, Precious Little Insight

By - April 06, 2014

appsvwebReading over my picks from the past week, I noticed a strong theme – we’re using more and more apps, creating more and more data, but we’re not seeing the true value we might from connecting all the dots. Sure, the NSA is – and Facebook, Google, and other large platforms are as well. But imagine what happens when *we* get those insights?! A move from the center (big platforms) to the node (us) of the information ecosystem seems imminent…

Apps Solidify Leadership Six Years into the Mobile Revolution – Flurry 

Nearly three hours a day on our mobile phones (and we’re not talking). Most of that time we’re in “AppWorld” – not on “the open web.” That is a scary trend, to my mind. But I think it’s temporary. Or rather, I hope it is.

Facebook Explores Anonymity Features – Re/code

Turns out, as a service, you have to provide what people want. For the most part. Facebook is considering the impact of apps like SnapChat and Secret. Clearly, it’s not what the social networking giant *wants* – but perhaps this is a worm turning.

NSA chief’s legacy is shaped by big data, for better and worse –

Indeed, if this outgoing NSA Director *missed* the big data revolution, he’d have been outgoing a long time ago…

Google Tops Exxon Mobil to Become World’s 2nd Most Valuable Company – Mashable

Apple is still #1. I wonder how long this will last, given Google’s ambitious push into entirely new markets.

Don’t eat that! SRI built a calorie-counting food app that works via a photo snap — Tech News and Analysis

Yes, I want this. Please. And please make it work with my Fuelband?!

Surprise, surprise: my online metadata actually reveals where I’ve been – Ars Technica

Startling to see how easy it is for someone with a few bits of digital information to figure out quite a lot more about us.

Forget the Quantified Self. We Need to Build the Quantified Us | Design – WIRED

Yes. I’ve been on about this for some time. Because of AppWorld, all these silos of data have yet to get to second and third-order insights. But we are starting to, slowly…

Google Weighs a Plunge into Mobile Phone Services – The Information

Most likley Google won’t do it the way the carriers are doing it. And I for one hope they go for it.

The Mozilla Manifesto – Mozilla

In light of the CEO controversy, worth remembering what it is about Mozilla that makes it unique.

The Fifth Protocol – Startup Boy

Because no edition of Else is complete without some thinking about Bitcoin.

We Are the Builders of Tech Revolutions. Why Are They Still a Surprise? | Blog | design mind

Reading this closely, and he’s talking about what I opened with – connecting all the dots…

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3 thoughts on “Else 4.7.14: So Much Information, Precious Little Insight

  1. JG says:

    Sure, the NSA is – and Facebook, Google, and other large platforms are as well. But imagine what happens when *we* get those insights?! A move from the center (big platforms) to the node (us) of the information ecosystem seems imminent…

    In the 8-9 years that I’ve been commenting on your blog, a central theme of mine is how big data companies (though of course I didn’t use the term big data back then) such as Google don’t actually help us move to the node. For example, see this comment from 2008:

    “Search is supposed to drive users to places that they wouldn’t or couldn’t have found on their own. Search isn’t supposed to drive users to busy main streets with lots of neon lights. Those sites are already easily locatable, without a search engine. Do you really need a search engine to No. Search is supposed to get me past that raucous main street, and out into the individual homes and quiet boulevards, to find individuals, smaller establishments, rarer items, in situ……Search is suppose to make the world flatter. Or at least make wider streets narrower and narrower streets wider, so that relevant information doesn’t have to relocate itself to busy main streets. And so that things that aren’t large-scale businesses can still be found, without having to spend thousands of dollars on an O’Reilly conference. That’s why it’s called search. The search engine brings the user to relevant information, no matter where that relevant information is located.. rather than the relevant information having to uproot itself and move to where the users are.”

    So I agree with you that it needs to move to the node, rather than to the center. But I don’t see it happening. It was suppose to happen in the 90s. It was supposed to be what the web was all about. Instead, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction, toward the center, and is stuck there.

    Do you really see the move from the center to the node as imminent? Or are you just hoping that the move is imminent I’ve been hoping for the move to be imminent for not just the 8-9 years that I’ve been commenting on your blog, but for the last 14-15 years of the web’s existence. So far, my hopes have not been realized.

    • johnbattelle says:

      Yes, it’s a hope. But I think it’s also now a market opportunity. Not one grand opportunity that one company wins, but rather multitudes of connective tissue opportunities, much as the early web was not one Place (AOL) but a multitude of places. I’m going to write about this at some point, a longer post, because I think we’re coming close to a tip on this particular idea. It has to do with contextual data.

      • JG says:

        Again, I share the desire for this to happen. But I just don’t see it happening. I think both companies and employees of those companies are just too addicted to the Big Cash that comes with Big Data. I love the idea of multitudes of connective tissue. But the tech workers that we’ve been training for the past 10+ years have been taught to look for the biggest, broadest-impact ideas and algorithmic solutions, which is anathema to the multiple connective tissue approach.