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Wonderful Web 2.0 Worlds

The revolution that captured / liberated the WEB...
by Praveen Baratam
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The way I see it, the World Wide Web is stuck with 'Search'! Yes, I understand the utility and ingenuity in being able to find the stuff we want but the Web has more to offer than that. I believe, the Web is as much about introducing us to new things that never crossed our minds as about providing the information we seek and we cannot search the Web for stuff we are not yet aware of! Even the original idea of content linking to other content (hyperlinks) only goes so far as content creators cannot link their content to stuff they are not (yet) aware of!

Off late, social feedback and curation have become a formidable force on the Web but we only come across what our peers find interesting and relevant there by limiting our field of vision to that of our friends / curators. It more or less boils down to a push-pull model where creators / curators push the stuff somewhere and seekers pull it from there with some form of voting / propagation mechanism in between.

Can we do away with all the explicit social curation mechanisms and create a smart service that can act as a personalized navigation system for the Web? I believe we can as we have already built something similar for Talkonomy. We call it the 'Navigator' (Suggestions shown on the right!) and it helps people navigate and explore Talkonomy! And the best part is this technology can be extended to the whole Web if desired!
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Exploring the Unexplored
 
 
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Alistair Riddoch, Contributor - 2 months ago Edit
any time we allow technology to be the only filter, we lose the opportunity to utilize a special skill that humans have that machines may take a while to be taught. The ability to hear what is not said, pick up on things conveniently or purposely left out. Read between the lines. You hear Al Gore say 6 glaciers are melting. A machine hears 6 glaciers are melting. I hear 6 out of how many are melting. The answer is significant. 6/100,000.
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Alistair Riddoch, Contributor - 2 months ago Edit
Not that there are not more than 6 that experienced some meting, but the fact that Al Gore mentioned 6 and failed to mention 999,994 may have gone unnoticed and unexplored by AI. I imagine processing and access to prewritten standardized algorithms for just about every purpose will over time become common place. repository with thousands of house designs, take over for low level architects, things like that. But there may always be a niche for human inspired thought.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 2 months ago Edit
@Alistair - You got me wrong. The technology I am talking about only cross recommends content between people with similar interests. Its not a filter. Lets say, you and I have some similar interests - inferred from our conversations here and elsewhere. Now when you read a new article on ScienceDaily and participate there, this algorithm suggests me that article to read. Its a large counting and correlating machine that taps into human intelligence to intelligently recommend content.
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Alistair Riddoch, Contributor - 2 months ago Edit
yes I may have been misunderstanding. I've reread.
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Many attribute the success of various Web 2.0 services to 'Network Effect', which says that the more the participants on a platform the more attractive and rewarding it is for new comers and bystanders to jump in. While 'Network Effect' can explain their growth, it boils down to an intractable 'Chicken and Egg Situation' in the very early days of these services. How will a service grow from 0 to its first 100 participants or so, if every other prospective user is looking for a critical level of activity and population to come aboard? There must be something else at work all through the life of a successful service!

In my opinion 'Circular Inspiration' is the missing piece of this puzzle and services such as Facebook, Instagram, Quora, etc. depend on it to achieve critical mass and growth. If we take the case of Instagram, one user's creativity and pictures inspire another user to get creative and share his own pictures which further inspire the first user to get more creative and share even more pictures. We can see how inspiration travels back and forth in circles fueling activity, the life blood of any service . Even though this phenomenon grows stronger with the number of participants, it requires only two people to start the whole rendezvous. Its not hard to imagine how the same phenomenon is at work on many other services and platforms.
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Circular Inspiration
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Alistair Riddoch, Contributor - 2 months ago Edit
I think it is getting so the Internet can be almost viewed as a live, thinking entity. You can "meld" with it. It has memory, experiences, thoughts, opinions, all stored in it. It is an awesome resource that is accelerating many things on this planet. Understandings, communication, freedom, fairness, goodness etc.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 2 months ago Edit
@Alistair - Any system behaves more like the sum of its parts. Internet or precisely World Wide Web is nothing but a communication medium between intelligent agents (Humans) and many elements on the web (blogs, email endpoints, websites, etc.) encapsulate individuals / groups; hence when seen as an entity in itself, reacts and behaves more like an intelligent system.
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Recently, I was browsing through my music library (mp3s) and found that many songs I ripped / digitized long back (from CDs and tape) were either corrupt or were of inferior quality than those available through iTunes, etc. today. Legally I own that music but have no way of refreshing my library to a better quality available elsewhere.

It then suddenly occurred to me that why can't there be a service where I can upload my music and download alternative / better versions of the same from it. Technically and legally I am only swapping my music and not downloading anything that I do not already own. The service just stores and identifies the music me and others upload and allows us to download alternative versions of the music we already own.

The service can also remember the music I own and upload so that I can download better / alternate versions of the same as and when they are made available by other members of the community. FLAC fans will love this!!!

A Legal Web 2.0 Music Swapping / Library Service! Sounds feasible :-)
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Legal Web 2.0 Music Swapping / Library Service
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Jeffrey Harrison White, Contributor - 8 months ago Edit
Great idea. There could be a sales application too. Users are more inclined to "own" their music, because they know that in the future, as better, more Hi-Def options become available, they can upgrade for free.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 8 months ago Edit
@Jeffrey - True! One more reason to build this service. Moreover, it would be great if existing music stores allow their customers to download the music they already purchased from them in the format and quality they desire.
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Alistair Riddoch, Contributor - 2 months ago Edit
@Jeffrey That is a good idea, and opens the door for a good corollary service. Take this idea and spread it to movies. Perhaps people could ship in old videos and DVDs and get permanent access to those titles online, in good quality.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 2 months ago Edit
@Alistair - Swapping video content is a bit more complicated. When you buy Video, you are not licensing the best format from the publisher. You are buying that particular quality Eg. VOD, DVD, BluRay, 4k, etc. On the other hand, with Audio, you are already purchasing the best available quality - CD or Equivalent. Hence swapping is justifiable legally.
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Inability to follow your favorite topics sans others from your favorite sources seems to be a fatal deficiency in the web ecosystem! Yes there is Twitter, but Twitter only lets you follow a source ( person / group / entity ) in toto and not selectively.

Let me elaborate! Imagine you like the way Frank (an imaginary person) relates to 'Politics' but don't care about his numerous rants about 'Technology', 'Sports', etc. Now, ideally you should be able to follow #politics from @frank i.e. politics@frank or frank@politics, which ever sounds more idiomatic, but such an option doesn't yet exist on any web-service / web.

The closest thing you can get to this pattern is when Frank writes a blog and categorizes / tags his posts with a provision to subscribe to the RSS feeds of those categories / tags. Many blogging solutions offer such RSS feeds and one can easily subscribe to such feeds from his favorite reader.

However, if you didn't follow the scheme detailed in the previous paragraph, don't be intimidated! You are not alone! It may be a cakewalk for the web savvy but not for the rest of us humble folks on the web.

Why not emphasize categories / tags everywhere on the web and put a simple 'Follow' button on each one of them? This way we can follow what we love more selectively and reduce the information load on us! :-)
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Follow in toto or selectively by Tag, Topic, etc.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 5 months ago Edit
Check out Mad About Technology ( http://goo.gl/RX2VMM ), a tech site in the making, to see this pattern in action. You can follow MAT in toto from its home page or selectively by category ( http://goo.gl/J2mGpe ), author ( http://goo.gl/fwnzTh ), tag, etc. from the respective pages on the site. You can even follow a search term a la Google. MAT uses Feedly, a web service, to achieve the above but I believe we can do much better with a service specially crafted for this purpose!
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