Persistent and Proactive Search

WSJ writes:

Persistent search and similar technologies are a new breed of Web-watching software that identifies new information on the Internet by making use of feeds provided by Web sites and technology that continually scans Web sites. When the software comes up with an interesting nugget — from government or company Web site, a message board or a blog — it automatically alerts users.

Investors can customize searches to match specific references to companies or sectors they’re interested in. Their goal is to see information and make a trade before anyone else does.

Here’s how it works: Many Web sites — especially blogs — alert aggregators such as PubSub, Feedster or Bloglines when new content appears on their site or in an RSS feed from the site. The new content is scanned for matches with keyword searches provided by users, who track the results using desktop tools or by checking the aggregator’s Web site.

Persistent-search software also seeks out information on its own, without the aid of alerts or RSS feeds. The software continually monitors the content on sites that may be of interest — such as corporate Web sites. When the software recognizes new information that matches a keyword, it notifies the user by updating a personalized Web page. That can be useful, for instance, if a company issues a news release a few moments earlier than it appears on news services.

On a related point, Ramesh Jain writes:

I think, and strongly agree with Bob [Wyman] on this point, that proactive search is going to be at least as important as retroactive just in a few years. Currently we only hear about retroactive search because the evolution of technology allowed first to deal with data that had been stored and there are many immediate applications of those. Now with internet evolving to have increasing number of sensors ranging from RFIDs to high quality video cameras the data and information landscape is rapidly changing. On considering the trajectory of the technology evolution, deployment, and human desire, it is obvious that at one time people were happy to get a report written by somebody on an event even after a few days after the event; now they want immediate information and experience of the event. Most people want to see images and video of the event rather than just verbal or written reports. This is because they want to experience the event. At one time it was enough to gain some high-level information, but now that appears inadequate and insufficient. Now we want to experience it through rich sensory data. In many cases, people want to see video with augmented reality using other sensors. Efforts to bring multiple perspective interactive video and immersive video in which people can experience an event from their perspective are just around the corner in research circles.

When Internet starts containing all these things, people will want to experience events of their choice. They will not be searching for pages, but monitoring, tracking, and prospecting for events of interest and for those events they will not be just satisfied by the link to an event, but will want a personalized experience of the event through multiple sensory mechanisms.


David Jackson points to a comment by who says that he US economy is now dependent on the health of Internet companies rather than industrial companies like GM: “Our view is that in the knowledge economy and global marketplace, growth will be driven by intellectual capital. The general ecosystem of Silicon Valley attracts brainpower, entrepreneurism and capital all necessary to propel the next big thing. …Specifically though, the ecosystem to support the Big 3 of Google, eBay and Yahoo! (GOO.E.Y.) will be a feeder of business opportunity for the next 20 years.”

David also mentions Jim Cramer and GERQY – Google, eBay, Research-in-Motion, Qualcomm and Yahoo.

What would be the Indian equivalent: WIST – Wipro, Infosys, Satyam and TCS?’s Multiforce

Tech Beat writes about what CEO Marc Benioff calls “the first on-demand operating system.” started off as a simple thing. It was software running on the company’s own computers that customers could use to manage their sales forces. By subscribing to, customers avoided the cost and trouble of buying their own software and computers, setting up a system, and keeping it running. Over the years, Benioff added more capabilities, including tools that clients could use to customize their service and that independent software outfits could use to build related applications. That helped round up over 13,900 customers with 227,000 individual subscribers.

Multiforce takes things a big step further. The technology, which is to be introduced in June, turns into a platform upon which customers can run any number of on-demand applications–all of which run on its farm of computers and tap into one gigantic database. Computer users can essentially live their professional lives in the interface and click back and forth between their most-used programs. This positions as the counterpart in the online world to the role Microsoft plays in the PC world.

SMS Future

The Mobile Technology Weblog makes an interesting point:

Ive been doing a little research lately; Ive been bugging people all around me with the question: why do you love SMS?. The top responses Ive been getting are:

– Its instant (you immediately get updated when an SMS arrives)
– Its private
– Its easy (although I think that is a relative statement)
– It always works

Looking at these responses, something hit me: SMS is nothing more then an outrageously expensive, very short, limited capability email!

The big advantage is that every mobile phone in the market can handle SMS. Yet it wont be long until the majority of mobile phones will be able to handle emails and instant messaging aswell.

Looking at the enormous success of the blackberry and at my own serious mobile email addiction, I dont see any reason why SMS should survive. My emails are just as easy to type, can be delivered just as quickly, are just as private, they always work, can be received on my phone (plus a million other devices) and theyre loads cheaper

Mobile Business Processes

Mobile Enterprise Weblog points to a white paper by Cingular Wireless and Accenture and comments:

At issue here is the fact that mobility is not a set of technologies in search of a “killer app.” Instead, Cingular posits that there are business processes that need to be mobilized. We can put the consulting-speak aside and investigate these basic categories:

* Workflow Enhancers
* Knowledge Enhancers
* Transaction Enhancers
* Reporting Enhancers

This is a sane approach that leads to a set of conclusions about field service and mobile sales applications.

TECH TALK: The Future of Search: Memex

The combination of RSS, OPML and Information Dashboards will also bring to life an old idea the Memex, first proposed by Vannevar Bush in 1945. I wrote about Constructing the Memex two years ago:

Each of us creates a weblog and a personal directory (MyMemex). In fact, for each of our interest areas, we should create a separate page with its own blogroll and directory. This is used to help focus the results that we will get on our Mirror Blog.

On a regular basis, we go about updating our weblog. New inputs can come from our own thinking, emails that we get or write, documents that we receive or create, web pages and blog posts that we see and like, subscribed RSS feeds coming in to our mailbox, and perhaps inputs from digital cameras.

As each of us updates our MyMemex or the GroupMemex for the communities that we belong to, the interactions of the Memex with the rest of the ecosystem will result in the constant updation of the MirrorBlog, which will point us to people, ideas and information that could be of use to us. It also captures the state of the world (for example, the days headlines and weather) to give a context to the thinking that is happening.

One can think of the Mirror Blog as a blogdex for our neighborhood. The current Blogdex (and Daypop) sites show whats popular across the world of bloggers. More often than not, we are not as much interested as what is being discussed by the rest of the world. Our interest is likely to be greater to see what is being discussed by our friends, and their friends. It is this neighbourhood context that the Mirror Blog will focus on.

We can also go to someone elses Mirror Blog. For example, if you know that I write on information management, if you are keen to get the wider context on information management, you may decide to come and see the Mirror Blog for my information management category on my weblog. It is not something you may do everyday, but every once in a while to keep yourself abreast of the most recent happenings in the space.

Some of the underlying ideas to execute the Memex may have changed, but the building blocks remain the same blogs, RSS and OPML. What is different is how we assemble these elements together. There is little doubt in my mind that the Web is due for an upgrade given the spurt in user-generated (folk) content and the rise of mobile phones. The Memex is what will emerge as Information Dashboards and Marketplaces become more popular. Thus, the future of Search lies in it enabling the creation of these new platforms to help us tackle a problem which has been with us for a long time lot of information and limited time. Finally, we have the tools at hand to tackle the challenges. Smarter Search is just a beginning, and the Memex is the endgame. Information Dashboards and Marketplaces make up the middle.

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