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TweetSense

By - October 02, 2008

Prmote Twitter

I think the business model at Twitter is going to be really, really interesting, and I think it’s going to leverage search, but search as a proxy for data and pattern recognition. We get an inkling of it at Election 2008, Twitter’s mashup of Tweets relating to the election, but there’s a lot more to think through. First off, Twitter is using its real estate to promote its deal with Current, which is a first, from what I can tell. The “ads” are on the right, right below each users’ profile. I remember covering every new pixel as the Google homepage caved to promotional reality, it’s interesting to watch it happen at Twitter, too, which I think has a lot of similarities to Google in terms of potential models.

Also worth watching is the hash function, where you can tag any topic (IE #redsox, as Churbuck pointed out). This function is not likely to catch on with my mother (I can’t imagine her adding hashes to her tweets, much less tweeting…yet), but what it enables certainly could. The problem is, when you create a site to pull hashed stuff out into a stream the result is often less than useful (as Churbuck noted in his post).

This is where the role of curation and editors is paramount. Voice, as Fred pointed out. There is voice in editing, voice in curation. And voice adds value. And where value is added, marketers can play, both on Twitter (imagine a cars.twitter.com, with auto advertisers on the right rail and at the top, perhaps using contextual TweetSense – yes, it’s owned, by…), and off (think about a feed of contextual Tweets and TweetSense next to conversational sites like Digg and, well, millions of others, as well as sites created simply from Twitter feeds on popular hashes…).

Just a (half) thought….

PS – why isn’t search.twitter.com, where you can see hash streams, even promoted on the home page of Twitter? Am I missing something, as I usually do?

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Google Says: We'll Get Our Own Data, Thanks

By - September 06, 2008

Googsat

Not content to lease data from others who have satellites, Google today launched its own satellite into space. Via BeetTv, thanks Andy.

Talk about web meets world….this is yet another indicator of the integration of virtual and physical. And it brings Google one step closer to what I think could be the company’s Waterloo – a viral meme that Google is sensing too much, knows too much, and is too powerful. It may not be rational, but no one ever accused humans of being entirely rational.

Update: Apparently Google does not own the satellite, just the data….

Here's A Book I Want to Read (And Wish I Could Write)

By - September 02, 2008

An Anthropology of Google’s Search Experiments (with all data exposed, of course).

Never will happen, but we get some tantalizing hints in this post on the Google blog:

At any given time, we run anywhere from 50 to 200 experiments on Google sites all over the world. I’ll start by describing experimental changes so small that you can barely tell the difference after staring at the page, and end with a couple of much more visually obvious experiments that we have run. There are a lot of people dedicated to detecting everything Google changes – and occasionally, things imagined that we did not do! – and they do latch on to a lot of our more prominent experiments. But the experiments with smaller changes are almost never noticed.

Google-Viacom Suit Gets Interesting

By - July 04, 2008

The ruling yesterday on the merits of Viacom’s data requests is worthy of review. Ars has more here. I am preparing for a vacation and can’t elaborate, but trust me on this one…

Open Search

By - July 02, 2008

I am thinking hard about the impact of open search – the idea that a major search index becomes totally open to developers, an open API, etc. that allows search to become a true platform that people can develop on top of.

I’d love your thoughts on this….writing this soon….I’ll update here with more thoughts but wanted to leave this as bread on the waters for the early risers…I know, I know, spam, but that can be routed around with business models and contracts…I’ve been noodling this for a long time and am close to saying SOMETHING….more background here (on Yahoo’s search monkey) and here (when Amazon did it and no one seemed to notice…)…

Flash Is Searchable

By - June 30, 2008

This is a Big Deal. Now, I want to know: how will Flash files be ranked? Any ideas? Adobe is a major competitor to Microsoft in this front. How will Microsoft make Silverlight searchable? And will Google index all both equally? (My take: Oh yes it will. If it does not, that spells trouble in any congressional hearing…)

Google: Making Nick Carr Stupid, But It's Made This Guy Smarter

By - June 10, 2008

Hal-1

I will admit, I was entirely biased upon reading this story from Nick Carr, who has a knack for writing pieces that get a lot of attention by baiting his hook with contrarian link chum. Heck, he’s really good at it, and I have a lot of respect for Nick. So I’ll take the bait.

His piece starts by conjuring HAL, the famous AI which manipulates humans, then makes his case by citing his own “feeling” that Google has changed his attention span to somehow prove that search and web browsing in general is making us stupid.

Balderdash. What Carr is really saying is this: People are not reading long narrative anymore, and that makes me and my pals sad. So let’s blame the Internet!

Sounds an awful lot like the complaints we heard about TV making us stupid. Did TV make us stupid? I dunno, ask Steven Johnson. I bet he has an opinion on this piece as well.

Carr writes: “Yet, for all that’s been written about the Net, there’s been little consideration of how, exactly, it’s reprogramming us. The Net’s intellectual ethic remains obscure.”

So because Nick hasn’t come up with a singular thesis as to what the “Net’s intellectual ethic” is, we must declare it’s making us stupid, eh?

Huh. He goes on to claim that Google is, in essence, an industrial style factory driven by a philosophy that is mechanizing our collective intellect much like factory automation mechanized our collective workforce – in short, Google is turn our minds into nothing more than collective cogs in some borg like hive mind. We’re fucked, and it’s all Google’s fault.



Puuuuuuuhhhhleezzze.



Here’s another quote: “The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.”

Right. And that’s why Google encourages its workers to spend 20% of their time on passion projects. OK.

His conclusion: “As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.”

Good lord. Somehow Carr seems to presume that there’s simply nothing valuable occurring in our minds when we engage with the extraordinary new medium of the web. Because we’re starting to think in different ways, it must be bad. Right? Carr may believe that search and the Internet make us stupid, but I will counter his personal, anecdote-driven conclusions with one of my own: when I am deep in search for knowledge on the web, jumping from link to link, reading deeply in one moment, skimming hundreds of links the next, when I am pulling back to formulate and reformulate queries and devouring new connections as quickly as Google and the Web can serve them up, when I am performing bricolage in real time over the course of hours, I am “feeling” my brain light up, I and “feeling” like I’m getting smarter. A lot smarter, and in a way that only a human can be smarter.

And I have a feeling I’m not alone. What do you guys think?

The Future of Search Series

By - May 08, 2008

Futureofsearchthomsonreuters

Danny and I have contracted with Thomson Reuters, a sponsor of Searchblog, to write a series of posts on the future of search. They’ve given us no guidance, just asked us to ponder the topic. This is my first post, “A search is not just a search,” longtime readers will find it familiar, if updated. From it:

In the past few years, a significant new feature has crept into the results portion of this otherwise predictable interface. Called “universal search,” the idea is to incorporate more than simple HTML pages into the results. A search for “London restaurants”, for example, might bring up maps and local results, as well as videos, images, organized reviews, and of course web pages. Every major search engine, from Google to Ask, has incorporated some kind of universality into its search results.

But while universal search points the way toward a new approach to getting you the answers you seek, it’s a half step at best. The results change, somewhat, but the process is pretty much the same. You enter a query, you get a set of results. Not particularly new.

What I find interesting are entirely new approaches to the interface of search.

We’ll be writing one post every week or so for the next six weeks. I hope by the end it’ll be an interesting body of work, it certainly will be if you give me input on what to think about, and critiques of what I’ve written. Thanks!