Posts Tagged ‘social’

data decentralization

May 12, 2010

The gravity of Facebook has started to pull on all data on the web.  The opportunity of giving individuals the power to expand their social network to all places on the web is a good thing.  The question is: should one business be the monopoly provider of this utility?  Some young developers think their is a need for an alternative, a decentralized alternative, they have crowd sourced funding and are called Diaspora Project.

The team at RedWriteWeb have a great overview on them.  The most interesting thing they write about Diaspora is that they are using a wordpress like development stance, opensource on the one hand and a managed hosted service on the other, I’d call that a cloud service.  They point to no centralization but I have found that the wordpress.com service does exactly this.  They restrict the plugins and other functionality for security reasons.  I’d like to see us making this hosted or cloud service have the same standalone freedom as a self installed server has.  What technical implications that involves are not fully known but if the goal is to have data portability and interoperability of data at the individuals control then, we should aim for those same standards on the applications that enable that empowerment.

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Personalized search from Microsoft

May 5, 2010

Lili Cheng of Microsoft FUSE labs has been sharing with the web2.0 world their newest service, SPINDEX.  The goal for the services?  To “.  .help you get the most out of your social activity by exposing the right information, at the right time, in a way that’s meaningful.”

WOW, they don’t do small visions at Microsoft.  I think when you combine the right information and at the right time you are framing context.   There is presentation context and authoring context, really two sides of the same coin.  Its search that brings (Bings) the two contexts together.  Not being in SF this week, I did not get an access token to their site but my expectations are for an activity stream UI with some ‘filtering’ UI tools to make it different from e.g. a twitter or FB news feeds.  Lili concludes her blog post by saying, “There’s still much territory to be surveyed. . ” in these early days on the web.  I agree, this context awareness activity stream web will change the face of search.

context competition

April 26, 2010

Not everyone ‘likes’ the implication foreseen for the Facebook Like button.  Adina Levin’s writes concisely about social context, its benefits, the activitystream standard and competitive forces in the market of context services.   The current paradigm for FB news feeds is to author once and send to all (from F8 a FB solution to this is to introduce Dashboards from different application or likes).  Whereas Adina holds up an activitystream vision for users context to be given the “‘capability to create more refined – and contexually relevant – posting choices and reading filters”.  She makes the case that the ‘like’ button holds to a different social context vision one where “Facebook is your one and only source of context”.

The opensourcers at FB point to their adoption of RDFa and the flexibility this provides, especially when connected to the FB API, including freer access to all openGrapth data types.  Adina makes a call for FB to adopt the Activitystreams standard and to complete on a level playing field with others wishing to specialize in offering such services.  How can you compete?, offer websites an activitystream based services where the users get a better context experience and then let those users spread the word.

filtering social news

April 23, 2010

What are the magic ingredients that brings the best information to us in a social context?  A couple of months ago I presented the whole story on the logic going on behind mepath.com.  This week the development team over at facebook partially presented their model.  The techcrunch blog has a great summary.

EdgeRank is the core metric formed and a news feed is a series of Objects prioritied by edgescore.  This can be summarised in the following equation:

The Sum of all Edges = Ue * We * De

where U is the affinity score between the user and Edge creator, W weight for each edge type, D time discount.

U – is real interesting as it is trying to decide how close you, the reader of the news stream is to author of the object.  Now, FB has a great starting point, they know there is a social connection between you and the author as only friend connections are brought back into a new feeds (OK, slightly more complicated as fan pages etc or app. data may feedback object not authored by a friends ie. like a RT of a non follower on Twitter).   By contrast mepath is given no starting relationship connection, it has to decide that itself and does so based on the lifestyle context of an individual over time.

W – applies a weight based on the type of edge e.g. comment, video post etc.  In effect saying the type of media authored can be biased up or down.  That is real interesting but how these weighting are decided is of even more interest?

D – time discounting.  Real time to later time.  Everyone one wants the latest but just in case we are not logged in 24/7 then we can review top news that ‘holds’ on to some friends post for longer, minimizing the chance you missed important news.  From my thinking on time filtering data, it is a deep and complex science all on its own.  The most important information an individual wants may well have happened in the past and well into the past.

While we can segment and split all we like, the simple objective remains, bring back the best information that is possible to have for the individual.  And increasing the will found and be achieved by understanding both the context it is initiated and understanding the context in which is was authored.

lifestyle interests

April 20, 2010

The thinking guys over at Techcrunch authored  a post entitled, Facebook To Twitter: Back Off, We Own People’s Interests today.  They talk in terms of a ‘battle line’ being made in the cyber sands over the interests of individuals.  Why is it worth a battle? “Whoever knows what your interests are right now and can package them up for advertisers has the chance to make a lot of money.” the articles states.  I am always reminded to start the economic story with the individual, as the article does in talking about the how ‘interest’ posts will be feedback into a FB news stream of each FB user.  Yes, it is great to connect individuals around interest, it is good to be open and to share, the mantra states.  Create value for individuals then you have an opportunity to share in some of it.

The opportunity to view pictures, videos or to read thoughts or feedback from individuals that share a common interest with you, even though you don’t know them through your existing friends (social) network is a great service.  The semantic web community has used ‘interests’ as the starting point to demonstrate their wears.  Twine now part of Evri.com made a spoof video on what exactly ‘interests’ were?  I guess we all know now.  Why have the semantic search businesses used the ‘interests’ area as the place to enter the market?  When you expand the sources of inputs back into an individuals news or activity stream then the potential volume of posts from the interest community can become vast very quickly, any benefits from connection can be quickly lot in the hose pipe of new updates.  Also, an ‘interest’ is a board category, take skiing, down hill moguls, in Scotland or the Alps.  Yes, Interest can be setup or tagged with increasing granularity but then you have a lot of interest to match yourself too.  OK, algorithms can be crunch behind the scene to help discovery.  I think the semantic and next generation search or filtering startups are just saying, we will do that from source.

Back to the economic value to the individual, if ‘interests’ information help them find or go to or buy a better ski resort, accommodation or pair of new skis then the businesses supporting them on that outcome will get to share in the economic value spent.  Advertising income is a real source of income online, main stay for google et al but I am not sure the best or maximum value is being collected.  Advertising is no small market but I think we as an industry are leaving too much value on the table.  How much extra value is there to be had?  All the costs incurred in advertising, selling, marketing, development, research and IT/Online.  Individuals sit at the top of that food chain, they will benefit the most and those best supporting them will have the opportunity profit well.

Social search Q&A

April 1, 2010

I picked up this article, The Tantalizing Promise of Social Search from a friend on Twitter.  The discovery of this webpage is a real life example of the future promise of social search as set out in the interview with Alexandra Samuel.  The interview discusses both the technical problems and the social problems to be tackled.  With the social ones predicted to be harder to solve than the technical ones.  Alexandra talks about the integration of search and social networks activity streams, in the context of friends or experts.  I think we are all ‘experts’ and the goal is alway to find the right context be that social or knowledge to provide information that solves our query.  Some times the friends in a social network will have the answers to help and be willing to share but at other times friends won’t know but it is highly probable a group of individuals in the world will have the answer.  I like to think of these as ‘friends you do not know about’, that is people who are really important to you but you have never met or have existing social ties with.  Finding this type of unknown friend is the problem we have been working on at mepath.