Personalised Search

WSJ writes:

Search engines have long generated the same results for queries whether the person searching was a mom, mathematician or movie star. Now, who you are and what you’re interested in is starting to affect the outcome of your search.

Google Inc. and a wide range of start-ups are trying to translate factors like where you live, the ads you click on and the types of restaurants you search for into more-relevant search results. A chef who searched for “beef,” for example, might be more likely to find recipes than encyclopedia entries about livestock. And a film buff who searched for a new movie might see detailed articles about the making of the film, rather than ticket-buying sites.

Microsoft and Barcodes

The Pondering Primate writes:

Microsoft, using a mobile phone, is actually starting to link objects in the physical world, to the Internet.

In the last few months Microsoft has introduced a:
speech recogntion browser
1d barcode scanner
2d barcode scanner
mobile image recognition engine and an
RFID browser

Is Microsoft developing the operating system for the “Internet of Things”?

India in 2040

An excerpt from Ajit Balakrishnan’s convocation speech at IIM-C:

By [2040], some say, India’s GDP in US$ terms will exceed not only the European countries and Japan but also, perhaps, the United States.

But what these reports also say, and this part is often overlooked, is that in 2040, India’s per capita GDP will be just 15% of that of the United States and a third of that of even Russia.

Another way of putting it is that even thirty five years from now, the average Indian will earn just Rs 5,000 a month. On this income he will have to feed and educate his children, look after their healthcare needs, afford entertainment and life insurance.

This means he must have a place to stay with clean water supply at, say, Rs 200 per month [18], uninterrupted electric power, perhaps at 50 paise per unit at the consumer level, medical insurance at, say, Rs 10 per person per month and life insurance perhaps at Rs 5 per person per month.

Mobile Advertising

mocoNews links to a post by Chetan Sharma and writes:

Chetan Sharma…chaired at the PAN-IIT event on Mobile Advertising – Technical Challenges and Business Opportunities. An interesting thing to look at is what the mobile advertising industry was forecast to be by 2005 by analysts at the turn of the centurybetween $890 million and $6.8 billion. In 2006 the actual mobile advertising market was $421 million. On the panel everyone was bullish about the industry (not surprising since theyre all in the industry, Infospace, Medio, Google, Voicebox) but they cautioned it will take time because the reach is not there yet.

A comparison was made with Japan: Japanese Mobile Advertising market: Clearly, Japan has had more experience with Mobile Advertising than rest of the markets. In 2006, the average revenue/user/year stood at around $4. For US, this figure was less than $1.

Gaia Online

GigaOM writes:

Gaias online world aspect (which launches in a separate Java-powered window) is a series of virtual towns where Gaian avatars can socialize (up to 100 in a single space), with apartments they can own, and treasures they can find. (No combat, however.) Its just that 10% of total user activity takes place in the world itself.

The world is just a conduit to the larger activity on Gaia, says Sherman: in addition, there are website arenas where users can upload and rate each others artwork and other content (7-10% total activity), or play multiplayer Flash mini-games with group chat (10-15% total activity.) The largest cohort of activity (wholly 30%) takes place in the Gaia forums, and heres where the truly staggering numbers come in: Averaging a million posts a day and a billion posts so far, Gaias message boards (with topics running the gamut from pop culture to politics) is second only to Yahoo in popularity.

TECH TALK: Reflections from a Dubai Trip: Imagining Chaos

Dubai now is about scale and size. They are trying to attract the worlds best with their custom-created vertically-focused cities (Internet City, Media City). They recognise their limitations and are working around it to create a region which combines brainpower and capital. The oft-quoted answer for why Dubai and Singapore can do it and we cannot is that they have lots of money and their populations are small as compared to India. But we are barking up the wrong tree.

Once upon a time, Dubai and Singapore were just spots on a map. It is someones Imagination that has created the modern-day wonders we look up to. And that is perhaps the biggest differentiator. Imagination and the ability to envision a future that doesnt exist today is what has and will set apart the winners from the also-rans. Of course, Imagination has to be combined with Capital and Execution but the starting point is the ability to make big plans and dream big, along with the ability to learn from others who have faced similar situations in the past.

Take the way we construct our roads in India. Even after all these years, we cannot build them right to withstand the monsoons. Of course, ask any person on the street and the response will be that the municipal corporations is hand in glove with the contractors so building (the same road) becomes an annual ritual. And we sit by idly and watch as the money is wasted again and again.

I write this because even as India needs new cities, we have to worry about our existing cities. There are tens of millions living in these cities. Can we create a better lifestyle for them actually, ourselves? Or will we just accept the traffic jams, the inadequacy of the schools and playgrounds for the children, the lack of green spaces, and take things they way they are because we cannot imagine anything better? Can we imagine the equivalent of a Snow Park (see the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai) in the desert that urban life in India threatens to become?

Tomorrow: A Choice Not Made