Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Web 3.0: Elements of a Pub-Sub/Alert Web

Monday, December 17th, 2007

In my opinion, the Web is getting to a breaking point because of information overload. Just think about the number of sites you visit on a regular basis today vs. in the early days of web. It is not that the Web has less interesting stuff today, but that it has too many interesting sites with too much happening with a growing noise to signal ratio. End result: we come back from a 2hr stay on Wikipedia/digg/youtube thinking we just wasted much of that time.

So, how do we fix it? The answer lies in getting the things we want, when we want, where we want (and nothing else).

This is the Push Web, Pub Sub web, Alertpedia, etc. Web 3.0. It is more proactive and personalized than Web 1.0 and will look as good as Web 2.0.

Here are some of the elements of a successful Web 3.0:

1. Open content channels: I think that the tools for this have been slowly gathering: RSS feeds, Atom, Yahoo Pipes, Channels (remember them?). I don’t think we need to wait for the ultimate “semantic web”, but some more specialization of these protocols will help. E.g., I like CAP (Common Alert Protocol), Geo RSS.

2. Usable interfaces: Geeks like us know and love RSS feed readers, but the Billions of regular folks are not as comfortable with them as they are with IE / Firefox. Agree? I feel that answer may actually be already here: Emails and Text messages. Or, someone will come up with a new Push browser. We don’t want another Pointcast though.

3. Content manipulation / filtering: How to combine 10 feeds, filter the junk out of them, personalize them for my preferences? Yahoo Pipes goes a long way. More to be done in making it easier to use for regular folks and personalization. Plus, we have very little patience for an uninteresting email alert. So, the content filters have to get much much smarter.. dare I say semantically capable and intelligent.

4. User generated content: With the necessary digg-like quality management by peers, reputation systems, spam filters. Much richer in content filtering than Web 2.0. Read [3] above.

5. A scalable publish-subscribe server: Imagine a world where every piece of information is submitted to a googleplex-like server farm, the content is analyzed, extracted, filtered, and matched with subscriptions in real time, and alerts go out in real time. Imagine getting a real time google alert as soon as some web page in Tanzania mentions your name. That requires a serious scale in data volumes (which search engines have tackled) and speed (which no one has tackled well so far).

6. New protocols for publishing, delivering, and subscribing to the content efficiently, cleanly, in a REST-ful kind of way.

7. And, to get it all started, a Killer App for Push content. We believe that Alertpedia, Knownow, Pubsub are all worthy attempts towards that goal.

dharani - Previewing Web 3.0, today.

Pushing to save some time

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Here’s a christmas gift idea for the mankind: extra free time in a day.

Seriously, the single most precious commodity that we don’t seem to have enough of is Time. Doesn’t matter your job, bank balance, who your boss is (or if you are your own boss).. time is something we all need more of. To play with our kids, to read that book, call our families, or just do nothing for 10 minutes.

I used to think that the Internet bought me time with all the information at my fingertips. No more waiting at a travel agent’s office, I just go to travelocity and book that trip. No more buying a paper magazine: online magazines nicely give the news, for free. And, digg makes it even easier with others telling us what is worth reading.

But, did you notice that we are still short of time? Especially because we have sooo much information to “deal with”. Yes, digg filters out news for me, but it shows me cool stuff that I would never ever have wasted my time reading! And, forget about going back to newspapers and local news to sift through the editorial gunk. Internet is good. But almost too good and too much.

So, what are we to do? Remember the good old days when there was a Jeeves-like butler who would take care of things so that Bertie could focus on more important things in his life? A personalized, always-awake assistant who knows exactly what you want and filters out all other minutae. Only, we can’t all afford a personal butler any more. But we can afford Alertpedia: it is free!

Think of Alertpedia like that. It monitors hundreds of web sites on your behalf and automatically filters 99% of the junk out and tells you when something of importance to you happens. This is what we believe will be the next generation Internet: Web Push. Right information (and nothing else) comes to you at the right time.

Like, how about a low fare air ticket to Hawaii so that you can really kick back and enjoy your extra free time? Watch for the farewatcher alerts on Alertpedia, coming soon.
PS: Ever tried forgetting your blackberry at home before vacations? Try it. It works! :)