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TECH TALK: The Future of Search: Discovery

March 23rd, 2005 · No Comments

Who doesnt love the joy that comes with discovery?! We are all so delighted when we find something different from what we started looking for. There is an element of serendipity in there. Technology promises to make this process easier look at the Amazon book recommendations based on our purchase history.

The same holds true for information. Today, discovery comes either via the search process as we sometimes end up finding things accidentally or via recommendations from our social network. Bloggers have made the process of discovery easier by tracking people we know who have certain interests that overlap with us, we rely on their search processes for recommendation.

One such application that is aiding in the discovery process is Rojo.

Technology Review: Rojo has an RSS feed search function and gives readers the ability to flag stories they find important or interesting. But in enabling users to draw on the insights of friends, family, colleagues, and others in their social networks, Rojo departs from most of the competition. Rojo users can invite others to sign up for Rojo accounts; those accounts are linked, much like the accounts on the popular website Friendster. Rojo users can see what RSS feeds the members of their networks are reading and which stories they are flagging. Network popularity also affects the ranking of results when the user searches RSS feeds. We all depend on our community for content discovery, says Chris Alden, Rojos cofounder and CEO. Any successful media service has to tap into that.

News.com: Like Google’s PageRank algorithm and other search engine technologies, Rojo examines the link structure of the so-called blogosphere in order to call attention to blog items and feeds that have proved popular with other readers. Along the same lines, it follows e-commerce sites like Amazon.com in recommending related feeds. And like social networking sites such as Friendster, Rojo narrows down the community of blog readers to those within a user-defined network of friends and associates.

As more and more of our interests and actions are available on centralised servers, the process of discovery will become easier not just discovery of content, but also discovery of other people with similar interests. In a sense, the information dashboards have to build upon the social networking sites what our friends and family say means a lot more to us than what someone else says. This creates another layer of search we can view the world in a series of concentric circles which expand the sphere of search and discovery. We start with what we know and our subscriptions. Next comes the flow of events which match the tags that we have set. Then comes the results of discovery in our social network. And finally comes the big wide world indexed by search engines. This funneling of information is what we use all the time in the real world. The technologies and building blocks now exist to do something similar in cyberspace. The challenge lies in the interfaces that we create to make this process simple.

Tomorrow: Interfaces


TECH TALK The Future of Search+T

Tags: Tech Talk

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