Web 2.0 thinking..

I’ve had a couple of days away from computers in Ireland with my family and apart from giving me a chance to catch up with stuff it’s given me a chance to look ‘from the outside’ in a bit to computing.

Firstly although I didn’t go on the computer my sisters both did to show me things and they use the computer differently to me. They tend to remember particular words associated with their stuff and then they go to Youtube or Flickr and type those words in then scroll down until they find their one. This works OK for them and it’s a good enough approach I guess as long as the words are uncommon. (in the case of my sisters they’re to do with circus performing (Belfast Festival of Fools being one example of their search terms!) and so it’s a good method.

Now that I’m back though and my kids are again inundating me with questions I’ve had a bit of a Web2.0 idea/revelation. When people ask me for stuff I can either search my memory for the answer, go online or look up the Encyclopaedia. Sometimes however these don’t come up with the satisfactory answer. So how does this link with my sisters approach? – Well my idea (and I grant I’ve heard similar before from others, although not exactly the same) is to create a series of ‘data miners’. What are these? – They are little bots that I send off to do the searching for me (nothing new I hear you ask that’s just like doing an aggregated search?) no! – These bots do the equivalent of Google and Yahoo and bring back stuff. They also know about me and my preferences, they’re working on MY behalf. The other thing they do is KEEP ON SEARCHING. So that if when they return result I don’t find what I’m looking for then they keep on working on this for as long as I consider it important. They then ALERT me to things they find that matches my criteria. As time progresses I can add refinements to help them, this increases the likihood of success. These bots don’t live on Google or Yahoo but they live whereever I need them to live, could by my favourite website or on my computer. I can create as many miners as I want and I can kill them off at any time.

I’m going to create these and make my fortune. But first I’m going to look at the Festival of Fools photos and videos and have a good laugh. I’m not going to go to Twitter as it’s down yet again. Sorry guys but you must keep this site up, people are getting grumpy!


About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

2 Responses to Web 2.0 thinking..

  1. Richard says:

    Sounds like a good idea. It does sound very similar to how the semantic web was being talked about. I don’t know if people have already tried developing this with the semantic web.
    If you could get something like this going in web 2.0 it may well aid to the development/arrival of the semantic web.

  2. willwoods says:

    Yes Richard, I’ve taken this idea and decided to move it further on. My plans now include

    1. Creating a web TV bit (pop up browser in TV to allow you to bring up searches and features related to the program using PIP technology that the digital text service uses)

    2. Adding a set of “miner” buttons to remote controls in houses so you can do search and retrieval using something people use all the time. Using the same input mechanism as mobile phone (or you could use mobile phone but I tend to not bother having mine on or near me when I’m at home and wanting info).

    I agree that this has a Semantic web tinge to it. I think Semantic Wbe has got a bad press recently because it’s seen as some kind of screen scraping gone mad or something with too high an initial development cost to make it worthwhile to do. I see my tools as being relative cheap to build especially if you rely on work already done by other web 2.0 apps on the pattern matching/algorithm/retrieval/filtering etc.

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