SAS: Gary Flake Shows Some Tantilizing Stuff

I had to leave SAS early today, but before I left, I met with Microsoft's Gary Flake, who debuted Photosynth at Web 2 last year. He had some cool stuff to show me. I was very keen to learn more about Sea Dragon (which also might be called See…


I had to leave SAS early today, but before I left, I met with Microsoft’s Gary Flake, who debuted Photosynth at Web 2 last year. He had some cool stuff to show me. I was very keen to learn more about Sea Dragon (which also might be called See Draggin’, you know…), and that did factor into what I saw, but the stuff he showed me was even cooler.

First, one thought on the implications of Sea Dragon. In short, the idea is this: Finite real estate, infinite information (this is a Flake-ism). I want to get pics from the Gates demo to show you what I mean, but imagine the ad as a rabbit hole of sorts. If you go down it, you can explore all of Wonderland without ever really leaving the page you are on.

Much of the other stuff I saw was under NDA, but suffice to say, I was impressed. What I can tell you about has to do with a new model for ads on the web, a sort of mashup between web-based data and virtual representations of familiar tableaus, for example, a typical storefront. It’s sort of hard to explain, it’s best seen. Gary called it “one and a half life…”.

In short, it’s all about a new interface for navigation through commercial space, and honestly, it’s about time we started to see innovation in this space. I’ve asked Gary and co. for some screen shots, and when/if they come in, I’ll post more. I’m a bit tuckered. It’s been a long 24 hours. More when I can…

6 thoughts on “SAS: Gary Flake Shows Some Tantilizing Stuff”

  1. OK, I’m looking at previous posts trying to figure out what SAS is. I bet it’s not the company in North Carolina who’s name stands for something like “Statistical Analysis System” and was as well known in the 70s for their products as Microsoft is today.

    But no, it probably has something to do with San Francisco, or PCs, or Web 2.0. But SAS DOES run on PCs these days, and maybe you and Microsoft are out in force looking at their latest offerings.

    It’s bad enough when acronyms in totally separate disciplines collide, at least then we can tell the difference by context. But these days when someone talks ATM I know they could be talking about a networking protocol, or the gadget they got todays lunch money out of. When they speak of SMB, they could be talking about what they used to copy files from the server onto their laptop, or they could be speaking of the target market for their latest XML management tool.

    Whether the acronyms are colliding or not (and for the 3 and 4 letter ones I bet most of them do) it still makes sense to spell it out at least once for the uninitiated.

  2. macbeach – you’re probably reading this blog because you’re interested in search. Why not give it a shot?

    A Google search for [microsoft sas] yields lots of results telling you that SAS is Microsoft’s Strategic Account Summit in Seattle.

  3. Here’s a question: How would you charge by a rabbit hole ad (RHA?)? Say you have a skyscraper ad that, on hover, expands to double its width, becoming some sort of microsite, do you charge by size/time/function? Because at an infinite amount of (ad) information, you’re taking away your viewership’s attention from what they wanted to see initially. As an advertiser I can see all the beauty and potential of that, but as a publisher that’s gotta be pretty obnoxious. It’s like investing all your attention to that suspenseful scene in that action/drama on FX and, suddenly — BAM! — there’s that stupid FX promo popping up from the bottom right-hand corner of your television, telling you to tune in at (time) for (name of movie). It kills all the action. I don’t know. Maybe I’m reading too much into this post. Thoughts?

  4. No. I read this blog becuae it often has news about Google. Not interested too much in what Microsoft is working on, other than to warn people about it.

    I would THINK that SAS Institute would qualify as strategic:

    Unless your strategy is to control everything.

  5. Okay, I’ll try to leave a constructive comment too. 🙂 I haven’t seen a demo of Sea Dragon, but the screenshots I’ve seen remind me of Pad and Pad++, a zoomable/multiscale interface from a decade or so ago.

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