Friday, October 31, 2008

Six degr"e"es of separation shrinking even further

Think of two subjects and do a search on Wikipedia, you'll realize that these 2 subjects are related to each other somewhere within the range of six links. This might be the average with the maximum link of separation being close to 12 but have we ever thought how true it is for the people in the first world and second world who are really separated by only six degrees of separation. (I will not get into the real existence of first, second and third world country because in times to come, and infact even now this division of worlds will cease to exist). 

Some proven experiments done say that this degree of separation might really be just a 5 degree of separation, but will this remain what it is and will the social networking sites and various other modes of getting people together and reuniting lost friends and families decrease this separation further. It has become so easy for one in the networked world to search an information about some individual these days. I agree that not everybody accesses the web world with the same degree as others but amongst all those who are currently reading my blog if they try to identify how far they are with any of my network on facebook they might realise that its nothing more than 5th degree. And I have tried this, myself. 

Though the concept of six degree of separation has remained the same for last 30 years. Infact a movie named "six degrees of separation" was made in 2006 on the subject based on another drama  featured in 1993 on this subject, showcasing how people are connected with each other and what this connection can do. But now is when I feel with the advent of these social networking avenues this degree is getting more channelized. I am sure that people would have never taken this seriously in the earlier days but in times to come this would become a stronger selling point over the net as if utilized effectively, word of mouth which already is the strongest point of marketing would grow even further and faster. With mobile marketing and the refinement of 3G Technology and Mobile 2.0 (again a concept) and the evolution of 4G Technology it will become easier and easier for marketers to reach out to consumers and the viral marketing would be easier than ever before. But as Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Tipping point that behind every thing to happen there is a reason behind it to happen, I really feel that the face of modern day marketing would be in understanding how this six degrees of separation can be used better than ever before. Also am looking at that epidemic called social commerce and internet to reach the tipping point from where marketing ans sales adepts will have no looking back !!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

N"e"xt generation search - Necessary evil or necessarily an evil

What is it that Google, Yahoo and MSN have in common. They all do search the same way as others except that google has gradually become the unanimous winner when it comes to the no. of areas from where it gathers its data from

So what is it that is still lacking in the search results?
What if I want my results to be more coherent to what I think and want rather than get the similar mundane results that every other user gets?

Am sure with the web that the search engines and others are trying to build around people they would certainly know in times to come each and every users every single need. So how about explaining it with an example - We have an user who searches for the term "baseball", considering that this user is based out of Chicago and he has bought online tickets through the google desktop, of the much awaited Cubs v/s Sox match already he might be looking for more details about the two teams under discussion rather than getting the results on places that sell baseball bat. Another scenario my friend on Orkut has been visiting websites that talk about the countries where baseball is played as he and I have to together write an article on baseball playing nations. So my search results on Google Chrome (Just to make sure no doubts are left, Google took full control of Orkut in 2007 )should be able to throw results that match results similar to that of my friends.

This might sound very sweet and easy and a lot of people will give a thumbs up to a search like this. Scour a new generation search engine which is trying to give users a similar opportunity to get customized search (luckily they are still leaving it to the users to rate and tag search pages) like this but aren't we giving too much intelligence to the system. Isn't technology being empowered way too much so that the system might some day start thinking beyond humans could imagine. I keep going back to thinking what John Mc Carthy must have had in mind while coining this term and can the 2001 movie on AI be a reality in times to come. Though I am a strong advocate of Google but at times I really think that Google someday might become an evil beyond what people could have thought of.