Search Engine Marketing has an interview with Rich Skrenta of Topix.net. Some excerpts:
We’re experiencing an explosion in the number of news outlets. Beyond the newspaper web sites, TV stations, news radio stations, and online magazines, there are increasing amounts of information being provided by corporate and government entities, as well as weblog authors and other non-journalist writers. To scan this massive amount of incremental information available each day for items which can be personally relevant is a big job, but one amenable to computer automation. At a high level Topix.net’s mission is to read everything new on the Internet every 30 minutes and let you know about new, relevant information that’s of interest to you — whether that interest is based on a local city, a hobby interest, a business sector, or some other content channel.
Search is definitely a platform. Microsoft Word has a spell checker built in, but it seems to not know about many common terms I use. Beyond that even, can it correct misspellings of ‘Skrenta’? Google can do both, using the world’s largest document collection and some fancy algorithms.
The platform that search can provide also has monetization built in. Imagine shareware that doesn’t ask you to send $5 to a PO Box, but can channel relevant advertising into a web-enabled application. Search is a first step to full utilization of a world-sized corpus of encyclopedic information, combined with the full value that community participation in the content & commerce process can provide.