Friday, June 06, 2008

Wikia search combines explicit and implicit user input

We discuss the importance of user supplied content. For example, all Wikipedia content is explicitly entered by users who create and edit entries.

Google also uses user supplied data. The more links there are to a given page, the higher its search ranking. Every time someone creates a link to a Web page, they implicitly give it a vote. They do not have to take extra time or effort -- the value of the data to Google and the Internet community is a by-product of creating the page.

The Wikia search engine uses both implicit and explicit user input. A Wikia search turns up listings similar to Google's, but lets the user evaluate and comment on the search results. To test it, I did a vanity search on my own name.

As shown here, Wikia found my home page and a number of other pages containing my name, and displayed them in the conventional Google style:

But, unlike Google, there are several input options on the right side of the screen. A user can edit, annotate, spotlight, comment on or delete the search result. As shown here, I spotlighted the entry and added a comment stating that this was my home page:

Wikia is separate from Wikipedia, but Jimmy Wales was a co-founder of both. You can read an interview of Wales on his hopes for Wikia search here.

Do you consider tags explicit or implicit? If you did a search, would you take the extra time to add comments to the result?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ten technologies to watch

The Gartner Group, a prominent IT consulting and research firm, has published a list of ten technologies they believe will change the world in the next four years:

  1. Multicore and hybrid processors
  2. Virtualization and fabric computing
  3. Social networks and social software
  4. Cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms
  5. Web mashups
  6. User Interface
  7. Ubiquitous computing
  8. Contextual computing
  9. Augmented reality
  10. Semantics
One can argue with the choices -- they were probably dreamed up in a brainstorming session around a conference table. One can also question the value and expertise of consulting firms like Gartner, as Robert Cringely did recently. But, this still serves as a checklist of technologies to keep an eye on. At the very least, you should have an idea what each is.

You can join in on a discussion of Gartner's list at Slashdot.

Which of these technologies seems like the most fun to work on? Gartner is only one of many IT consulting and research firms -- what are some others?