Continued interests

I’ve been digging into a few new areas of interest over the past few months I feel still need improvement in search, discovery and tracking. I’ve spoken about most of these topics in my podcast series with Om, but it’s worth mentioning again in text. I’m interested in continuing my work in these areas and perhaps helping to solve some existing problems.


We have RSS 2.0, and Atom 1.0, the world is starting to understand how syndicated content makes sense, but I don’t see a lot of future thinking for handling multiple locations, personas, and personalized content. Advertising is a whole separate issue that’s less interesting to me but pays the bills.

Syndication is becoming a content pipeline, delivering updated blog posts to your favorite aggregator, updating your TiVo with new videos and photographs, and publishing the latest advertisements from ad publishers to client websites. Photos, videos, and music over syndicated feeds still have a lot of room for improvement before they can be turned on as content channels on anything from mobile devices to a home media center with full synchronization and recommendation abilities.


Many people pronounce feed aggregators as dead commodities but I disagree. New users don’t know what they are looking for, what to do with a feed once they’ve found it, and honestly it should all just seem like behind-the-scenes magic. There will be applications released in 2006 to help focus your attention, visit sites related to the item you are currently browsing, and adding channels to your desktop will be hip once again.

I’ve been poking at various aggregators discovering my favorite features, new ways of presenting data, and I have a few ideas on how to change the space.


Think the vertical search game is over? While Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft fight it out to become the default search engine of Internet users small companies can meet niche interests and make some good money in the process.

Blogging using text is just the beginning. Look for more people lip synching to Backstreet Boys from their home computer, sending audio blasts to friends, and sharing pictures and other content from their everyday lives. These multimedia types are not well indexed at the moment and I think the industry is still catching up.

Social search and personalization will shake things up once we have the computational horsepower to handle these advanced queries and better encouragement and assurances for people handing over personal data.

What else?

There is a lot more to discuss but I am on my way to a social computing event at the Computer History Museum to listen to Erik Fair, Randy Farmer, Reid Hoffman, Mena Trott, and Kara Swisher talk about the future of social interaction online.

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Commentary on "Continued interests":

  1. Greg Linden on wrote:

    Niall said, “There will be applications released in 2006 to help focus your attention [and] visit sites related to the item you are currently browsing.”

    Niall, does exactly that. And it launched in 2004!

    Definitely true that personalization will be having a big impact in 2006 and beyond. The trick is to be able to do it at scale. Generating a fully personalized, unique page for each reader isn’t easy, but Findory and Amazon manage to pull it off.

  2. Panayotis Vryonis on wrote:

    I’m still looking for something that will “mix” and/or “filter” feeds. Or maybe something like a feed database that gets automaticaly updated and where I can use a query language to extract my own feeds.