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TECH TALK: The Future of Search: Information Dashboards

March 25th, 2005 · No Comments

As we have discussed, Search is an excellent interface for the Reference Web. What then is the interface for the Incremental Web? Todays RSS Aggregators are a good start but their limitations become all too apparent as the list of subscriptions grows.

The challenge is to manage this flow of events through the subscriptions. There are projects like AttentionXML which promise to provide a solution to this problem. My belief is that we will need to fundamentally rethink of the interface itself and not just the underlying technology. This is because we consume different information sources differently.

For example, on my aggregator, I may have maybe 20 A-List feeds feeds which I want to see with all the new items outlined somewhat like Samachar. I may then have another 100-200 B-List feeds which I want to see on-demand or via a river of news style aggregator. Other feeds may be single-item feeds the closing stock market index, or the cricket scores, or the weather. In addition, I may have subscribed to a number of tags from a multitude of different sources.

In essence, as RSS becomes the de facto standard for syndicating information, how the information is consumed will need to be controlled by the user. This is where the Information Dashboard will come in. It will need to give the user the flexibility to package collections of RSS feeds for viewing for different experiences these could be based on the device I am using (I may want a smaller subset of feeds on the mobile), or time of the day (I may want a different view in the evening as compared to the morning).

Going ahead, Search will evolve along many dimensions personalised search, vertical search, local search, and more. But the real reason for search is because there is so much information. Once subscriptions start becoming popular, there will be a need for a new interface for this Web which is built around our lives combining the Incremental, Archived and Community Webs. This is where the next innovation in computing will happen. This is the future of Search not directly in the field of search, but in addressing the root of the problem of information overload. This is where Information Dashboards will thrive built around events, subscriptions, tags and discovery, built with cutting-edge software innovations, available to us on the devices of our choice, and focused around optimizing our Attention. The idea by itself may not be revolutionary. But, like search, the difference will be in how it is executed and most importantly, the User Interface.


TECH TALK The Future of Search+T

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