Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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Next-Generation Infoware

September 14th, 2004 · No Comments

Jon Udell writes:

I’ve been using Flickr, and writing about it, for the same reasons. Likewise del.icio.us. Among other virtues, both exhibit a really important one I haven’t mentioned yet: you own your data.

When I think about meshing my own data with an infoware-style service, there are two key strategies I need to consider:

1. The entry strategy. In the case of del.icio.us, it was easy to weave my own stuff into the service. Using the procedure I detailed here, tags that I maintain on my blog entries are automatically sprayed into del.icio.us. With little effort, I was able to create hundreds of integration points between two complex information surfaces — my blog and del.icio.us. This was so effective that I decided to use del.icio.us for tag surfing of my blog.

2. The exit strategy. With first-generation infoware services it’s hard or maybe impossible to retract the information you’ve given them. Second-generation infoware challenges that notion. You can’t delete reviews you write for Amazon, which is why I’ve never written one there. (Instead I write about books on my own blog where services such as All Consuming can find them.) But you can delete links you submit to del.icio.us or photos you upload to Flickr.

From the user’s perspective, del.icio.us and Flickr support near-optimal entry and exit strategies. You can deeply and automatically mesh your own information with them. And you can undo that meshing. Participation in the services is thus an “at will” arrangement. If you maintain well-structured information, you can as easily mesh it with another comparably-equipped service. So the switching cost, as economists say, is low.

Tags: Software

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