22 September 2010

Digging Up Content

Google changed everything. Suddenly, everything became about search. You could find anything with Google.

But this is changing. It is no longer about search. That takes time. Time to decide what you're looking for. Time to find the right key words. Time to filter the results.

Instead, it's now about discovery. Where the content finds you.

Where is this most prevalent? Your Facebook News Feed and your Twitter stream. And with the recent implementation of Facebook's Open Graph, content will come better recommended to us, with more relevance, drastically reducing the need for us to search.

Eventually, everyone will have their own personalised Digg where the content is almost perfectly relevant, recommended from the people you want on the topics you want.

11 comments:

  1. Am I missing something?
    Search was around long before Google. Just ask Yahoo.
    As for discovery, isn't that where the term "surfing the web" came from?

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  2. But Yahoo was shit. Search became easy with Google.

    And as for "surfing the web", I'd call that random search rather than discovery, where relevancy was hit and miss.

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  3. Social recommendations work so well because they depend on the us revealing what interests us (giving up some privacy to gain better results). Because we're already warm to what then comes our way, we are far more likely to engage or click. Facebook are the new Google in terms of the monopoly, but increasingly its going to be about the micro-recommendation engines in every application. iTunes Genius, Foursquare, Digg, Feedly, Zite, every day a new platform for recommended or curated content emerges. I am willing to trade my privacy for the the benefit of getting content that interests me.

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  4. Altavista used to be the bomb, Yahoo was terrible.

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  5. "random search rather than discovery"

    Sounds like you don't get the meaning of discovery.

    As for relevancy - who cares!

    Unless of course you wanna be just like everybody else.

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  6. I agree with Tip. It's a trade-off on privacy. One could argue that the reason social media works is because people are motivated by improving their social status. Someone who generates new or interesting content themselves, or is the first in their social circle to discover something cool and then share it amongst friends gains more kudos for doing so.

    Although the idea of being able to sit back and have a personalized selection of relevant and interesting content arrive in my "news feed" appeals to the lazy part of me, I still think people will want to create, explore, and discover for themselves. I also like when I find content that challenges my thinking and opens my eyes to new ideas. I wouldn't get exposed to this if content was screened based on my personal preferences into a personalized super-Digg.

    Call me old-school. My Facebook news feed has its place, but its the combination of content sources, and the possibility to discovering new ones from "surfing and searching", and then sharing my finds with friends has stronger appeal to me. And yes...Altavista was the bomb back in the day.

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  7. Grazy Google and their Google games. Everything that company does turns out to make some sort of impact. Search was the big one!

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  8. OK, "search" actually describes lots of different intentions and behaviours, e.g.
    - Searching for the time of the last flight from Sydney to Melbourne;
    - Searching for a "good" restaurant in this suburb;
    - Searching for the meaning of life.
    Each of these three search activities is quite different and requires different forms of support.

    We are definitely seeing applications that can provide better targeted information to users based on contextual information (e.g. physical location, previous behaviour).

    However, human behaviour is actually pretty complex:
    - We as people change and act in unpredictable ways (even to ourselves) so we can't expect our machines to keep up all the time.
    - Our needs are so diverse, we need diverse ways of meeting them - which for now will involve both "push" and "pull" information strategies (as we used to call them in the late 90s).
    - Much of our smarter information search behaviour is 1. iterative (we repeat and refine what we do) and 2. heterogenous (we use more than one source) so I believe our toolsets should reflect that.

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  9. wow. I totally agree that personalization is going to become much much more prevalent in the future, but do you honestly think that Facebook will be able to predict what type of food you are in the mood for today and where?

    Do you think Digg will soon be able to predict which words or allusions within articles you don't understand or may interest you, and link you to the relevant Wikipedia article?

    I hardly think that "discovery" as you call it detracts from Google's Market either, - Nobody searches for "Apple announces iPhone 5," that news finds you as relevant.

    Especially with this privacy crap that everyone is moaning about, personalization will never make search redundant, it isn't dying.

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  10. While I agree that social media will play a big role in the future of where we get our content, it cannot replace search completely. There is always going to be something that I want or need to know that is not being presented to me through Facebook or Twitter. I am sure that will be less and less of a problem as things evolve, but a complete takeover is highly unlikely.

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  11. search is becoming more intuitive and I think that is the main game in the next 5 years around content aggregation/search/social ... Google are working on delivering content without the need to be prompted through data collection. As is Facebook.

    Problem is - what gives them the right to collect all this data, and in 5 years will they be able to collect the amount of user data (and commercialise it) as they presently do?

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