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Friday, July 08, 2005

Search, Metadata, and Trust : Converge Into Experts' Net?

Gordon Gould writes,a proliferation of meta-data (tags, links, logs, etc) - theoretically can help us search more effectively. All forms of meta-data also, in many ways, compound the problem by creating exponentially more data about the original data. Also, these programmatic forms of meta-data are subject to automated corruption and spam.To help keep our metadata clean so we can find the original data we want, the Net has now turned to a new frontier in search: personal trust networks and using people we know/trust to help us search. The concept of "personal trust networks" is going to need to radically expand in order to make social search really work on a widespread basis. Personal networks are too determined by chance and proximity to cover everything effectively. As Chris Anderson observed, the overall network is sub-optimally fragmented both for any one user and the network in toto.

As Danny Sullivan shows, we will soon see ways to make personal networks more porous. One way to do this is already very popular both online and offline: (more or less) unidirectional social relationships where "experts" curate information for the rest of us.People, in the aggregate, like to believe in a trusted or aspirational authority figure whether it is a blogger, a movie star, or some other highly respected professional. The Experts' Net where humans (probably aided by collective reputation and feedback mechanisms) filter, sort, and, above all, curate data for us appears to be a good solution. Increasingly, they will spread out from there and will be ranked by social proximity, by relative popularity, and, probably, by their economic power.Clearly, organizing and finding experts is going to be a big business. Services that help us navigate experts more efficiently are themselves poised to shoot to the head of the longtail. LinkedIn, Google, Y!, and others are all obviously gunning for this. AOL and MSN are going to push hard to get there too. There are lots of very interesting web 2.0 start-up opportunities in enabling the millions of experts out there. Consumer ecommerce is a big opportunity -tools that expand the power of the Experts will be hugely valuable too.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"