Friday, February 24, 2006
Google has made billons betting that computer analytics offer the best technique for finding related content, and the company laid waste to dozens of directory services such as NetGuide that relied on people power.
But every where you look these days there are human-based websites, search engines and information resources saying that they can do better. From digg, to del.icio.us to social networks to wikipedia, relying on the judgment of humans is back en vogue.
Add Prefound.com to the list of Liliputians search engines trying to hold down Google's growth. The company is using volunteer "experts" to identify the most relevant results.
The uber-solution is probably a hybrid that takes the best of both worlds. Analyzing the frequency of words in a document does not provide the context that only people can provide, while algorithms are the best to find obscure topics that are beyond the reach of human categorizers.
Perhaps advertising engines will someday incorporate the human factor as a replacement for contextual ads. MySpace would be a likely candidate to automatically display products or services that are people-recommended.