On Saturday I presented the first part of this two part post. It outlined what I believe will be a better internet. By this I mean an internet that “knows” you. An internet that doesn’t give you search results you don’t want. An internet that doesn’t introduce you to people you won’t like. Read the post for more details. Today’s post is about HOW that better internet will get to know you. I have two thoughts on how this will happen for simplicity I’ll call the first one math and the second one cliques.
The math or “Google” model is based on linking disparate data points to make sense of you. There is a certain elegance to this type of model, in that it will mine the data of millions of users to discover things about us that we never knew. The math model for example may be able to identify that because you like playing scrimmage hockey and are over 50, you may like arthritis medicine. It can tell this because most pickup hockey players over 50, like arthritis medicine. The systems set to figure out these trends would do it using regression models; comparing every potential data set randomly till trends were identified. So, while it would have eventually figured out that hockey players above 50 like arthritis medicine, it would also have noticed that hockey players above do not like perfume. The trick here is that it’s anonymous. You don’t tell the math method who your friends are, it places you in a bunch of different demographics and does it for you.
In a cliques based better internet, the internet will know you because of what you and your friends like. This is what I’m calling the “facebook” model. This “social” model is not based on millions of disparate data points, it’s based on a few data points that it can tie directly to you. It can tell that one of your friends bought arthritis medicine and then two of your mutual friends bought it and assume that you might like some. The trick here is that it’s context based. It takes some information that it knows (who your friends are) and tries to figure the rest out.
Here are some common examples of both systems:
Got other examples? Add them to the comments.