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Basics of Attention Profiling - By CleverClogs

Added on by Chris Saad.
I've said it before, and I will say it again. Marjolein is a wizard. She takes complex and abstract ideas and makes very real examples and walk-throughs out of them.

She has done it yet again with her latest blog post entitled "Basics of Attention Profiling through APML".

As her blurb says:
"If you want to inform yourself of the basic principles of attention profiling or need to explain the concept to others then please read on. Feel free to add your clarifications, your conclusions and your constructive criticism to this deliberately non-geek conversation."

She begins with a great summary of the topics she will cover:

In recent months quite a few bloggers covered the growing adoption of APML, a proposed standard for attention profiling. Those about to give up reading here already, please don't. I personally found most of these posts delving in rather deep. If you want to inform yourself of the basic principles of attention profiling or need to explain the concept to others then please read on.

With today's post I'd like to make an attempt at writing a layman's article answering exactly these three questions:

  1. What is attention profiling and what are the benefits?
  2. What tools and services already support or endorse attention profiling?
  3. Where could you go next?

And answer them she does. With screenshots and all.

Check it out - show it to your Attention challenged friends - spread the love.

The post is already linked in a RWW post by Marshall.

Opening up Attention Silos

Added on by Chris Saad.
Alex Iskold over on Read/Write web writes once again about the Attention Economy. He eloquently describes the state of proprietary Attention silos and the need for open standards and APIs for capturing and remixing Attention Data and profiles.

He rightly points out that APML could be a key driver to bringing about a more open and transparent ecosystem.

The APML Workgroup is still growing and the first round of APML supported apps are now well underway starting with Particls, then with Engagd and with Dandelife, Cluztr and iStalkr (using the Engagd API).

Read his post to learn more.

More chatter about Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
A whole set of blog posts have sprung up last couple of days about the need for a tool like Particls.

Alex Iskold on RWW writes:

"We need a tool, an assistant, that understands our processes, understands what we are doing, when we change tasks and when we finish them. It needs to be with us everywhere - on and off line and on the go. As much as possible, this tool needs to help us juggle our tasks and restore the context, recall and store information and make our life easier for us. This is not Artificial Intelligence, this is basically a glue for all the things that we are trying to juggle and ways we are trying to juggle them."

In response a number of others have chimed in:

This is exactly the goal of Particls. We are not quite there yet - but it's certainly a worthy goal.

Faraday/Particls in the Top 10 Web 2.0 Companies

Added on by Chris Saad.
Over on Read/Write Web Ross Dawson has written up a list of Australia's Top 60 Web 2.0 Applications.

In the top 10 are many of our friends in the local scene including Omnidrive, Atlassian, Podcast Network, Minti, Scouta and Tangler.

Particls makes the list at number 9.

Ross is also holding a Web 2.0 event in Sydney, Australia on June 6. Unfortunately, despite being invited to speak, we can't make it. A lot of great people are going however - so check it out.

Web 2.0 - Nothing to see here... moving right along...

Added on by Chris Saad.
A lot of people are reading and writing about Web 3.0 again - Spurred by Alex's post on RRW.

I, myself, have written about Web 3.0 late last year. Here's an excerpt:
Web 3.0? Are you serious? Apparently a lot of people are. More than I imagined. It seems from the search results, though, Web 3.0 is some sort of Web 2.0 - except with more of everything. More mainstream users, more revenue (or finding a way to get revenue in the first place), more programmable etc.
To summarize - I thought it was a silly idea.

I was going to ignore the subject this time until I read a post by Peter Rip. I love this quote:

"VCs have always made money at finding the ideal point of friction between the Present and the Future. Profits accumulate in the gap between What Is and What Is Possible. Web 2.0 is now firmly in the category of What Is."

The quote caught my eye because one or two VCs I have spoken to (and an awful lot of investor types are always fishing around) make the statement "oh it's too early for this kind of thing" (this kind of thing being a focus on Attention as a consumer tool). It always makes me laugh.

I think Peter is spot on. I too am tired of all the 'me too' services out there. They are so unoriginal. In many cases the winners have been decided.

I do have a problem, however, with claiming that Web 3.0 is all about web services. Web services are an old idea and APIs are already part of the Web 2.0 evolution. So to claim that they are part of Web 3.0 is a bit like saying 'HTML is part of Web 2.0'.

APIs are here to stay. Screen scraping will reduce over time as apps either play nice or die. But I don't think that broader adoption of APIs is a sufficient paradigm change (at least on its own) to justify a new version number.

So to summarize:

  • Web 0.5 was about communication - Chat/Email.
  • Web 1.0 was about one way publishing - CMS/Portals - Corporates came first and they declared their message to us poor users. Community was relegated to a second class citizen on forums (if at all)
  • Web 2.0 was about two way publishing - Blogs/YouTube/Digg - The community (specifically the individual acting as part of a community) become a first class citizen. The web became personal.

I am not sure Web 3.0 is coming. At least not any time soon. Instead I think the next big opportunity is Media 2.0.

I think that Web 2.0 was merely an overdue adjustment in our thinking. It was a realization that the web is not just another broadcast medium. That broadcasting radio/TV/print over TCP/IP was not the point or the promise of this new platform. It was a realization that interaction models that empowered the audience to become the most important part of the ecosystem was the actual point of the medium.

It's like when TV grew up and stopped doing radio plays and started doing lifelike drama.

I think the next revolution is the web transforming other forms of media. That is, creating interaction models that go beyond the web (or extend the web into more places and form factors). It's about the web transforming traditional TV, Radio and Print to become more interactive. It's about democratizing the mainstream - not just on the web - but everywhere.

What is Media 2.0?

Added on by Chris Saad.
There have been some great questions about Media 2.0 over the last few days so I thought I would join the discussion.

First: What is the best name for the changing media landscape?

Some call it Social Media, others (including me) call it Media 2.0. Jeremiah Owyang asks the question today on his blog "Hate the term Social Media? Help come up with a better term".

Well I think we already have a better term - Media 2.0.

Jeremiah says he hates the 2.0 thing. Well I say too bad. It's great! Why is it great? Because the change in media is not just about social. If it's about one thing then it's about Personal.

It just so happens that we are each (personally) social beings and therefore a symptom of more personal media is social features.

But personal manifests itself in other ways including:
  • More personal choice (more niche content providers including/especially participant created content)
  • More personalization (in the form of recommendations and attention based filters)
  • More personal transparent (public is the new private)
  • More personal presentation (choose your browser, aggregator, device, color)
  • More personal scheduling (choose the time and date of the content - time-shifted/on-demand content).
  • More personal connections - SOCIAL

But there are other aspects of the changing media landscape. Convergence, DRM (that's not very social!), Identity etc. So that's why I call it Media 2.0. It's a major new version of a very old idea. Personal human connection.

In the comments of the post he writes:

Chris, I’m not a fan of “2.0″ anything. What’s happening is the natural evolution of the web, it’s nothing really new is it?

This is why I like the term “Social Media”

Important: Social Media is about People.

I responded:

Social is a symptom of Personal - but whatever your definition - to try to foreshadow the destination/goal before we get there only limits the discussion/possibilities.

2.0 gives people freedom to decide what the next generation will look like while still giving them a buzzword to rally around.

The community and the market will decide what the 2.0 means - and I think you will find that ’social’ is only part of that outcome.

Second: Read/Write Web has an article about the mainstream media using more and more Web 2.0 technologies.

That's because they are becoming Media 2.0 - like the rest of us.

I am a bit disappointed they didn't make the link and mention the Media 2.0 Workgroup's launch at the same time.

Third: There has been an overwhelming response to the Media 2.0 workgroup.

So we have had to stop taking email nominations and changed it over to a wiki. The Wiki also has a page about the workgroup's goals and selection criteria. Nominate your favorite voices.

Also, while the people listed on the page are great voices to help spotlight the discussion, we will start to find ways to bring everyone into the conversation in more democratic ways... stay tuned.

For now I'll give you a hint and say start tagging your content Media 2.0 ;)

More soon...

Best of Breed Future

Added on by Chris Saad.
As Richard mentions on Read/Write Web today - John Milan wrote an excellent two-part article for R/WW earlier in the week, about the future of software. However - I have not yet had a chance to read it. It was too dense and long and I have not had the time to dedicate.

But Richard, being the excellent site editor and blogger that he is, recognized the possible problem and posted a summary today.

He summarizes it like this:

In Part 1 John argued that data should become open and accessible, just like the code in Open Source software. Code is often re-written and re-factored, but systems only work if they agree on the data.

Part 2 contends that people will demand more access to their data and more integration with their apps. This will result in the single minded, all-encompassing applications of today dying off - in favor of multi-celled, specialized solutions. So the future will be combinations of best of breed technology, rather than monolithic software.
John's conclusion was thus:
"And what trait will the eventual winners in this brave new world share? The solutions that can hone their data requirements, move results from system to system, use the best form factor for the job and still keep it on a human level."
Richard compares this to the new Firefox and I think he's right. But I would also like to compare it to Touchstone (surprise, surprise).

With Touchstone's input and output/hub and spoke model, it effectively moves data from one system to another and at each point making a decision about the best form factor. The example we use most is 'the more important the info the bigger the alert'.

This is probably not what John meant - but I think it still holds true.

Thanks to RSS as the universal syndication format and Microformats as growing standards, users can pick and choose the best apps to use together. We hope that Touchstone will be the best notification platform in that mix.

Via Touchstone

Note: I will start to say 'Via Touchstone' on posts when my post is based on something that I found from Touchstone. I have found that Touchstone has started to become one of my main information sources as it evolves into a complete solution and more and more of my posts are based on info it alerts me to.

Google vs The World

Added on by Chris Saad.
There is a post on Read/WriteWeb about 'The race to beat google'.

Alex and Richard compare the Google Competitors based on their points of differentiation and come to the fairly obvious conclusion that:

So overall, even though there is a lot of activity in the space, it seems like Google will remain the search king for the foreseeable future. Various approaches will have different degrees of success in seizing bits of the market, but to make a serious dent will require time, flawless execution, big marketing dollars and, of course, a better technology. This is not a trivial combination of things.

Alex goes on to say:

...another promising contender (mentioned by Emre) is personalized search. With this technology, search results are going to be organized not by PageRank but by your personal interests. It is likely that a combination of a vertical search and personalized search is going to deliver fundamentally better results than Google, so that might have a chance. However, as we pointed out with the other technologies. Google is not going to sleep through this.

A commenter called Eric, however, hits the nail on the head:

The only way Google is going to be beaten is when the next great paradigm shift in computing comes along. IBM wasn't beaten by another hardware vendor, it was beaten by Microsoft's operating system. Microsoft wasn't beaten by a another
operating system, it's being beaten by the web. It follows then that Google isn't going to be beaten by another search product, it will be beaten by something else.

It stands to reason that if any of these other things prove viable, Google will incorporate it into their own product. Just like Microsoft never plays the innovator with Windows - when you're the leader, you just have to be "good enough" and copy the best ideas from competitors.

The question we should be asking is: what's the next paradigm going to be?

So maybe this is not about beating Google at search, but rather going beyond 'search' and towards a new paradigm that is more useful.

Im surprised that both Alex and Richard did not mention Touchstone or APML in the article when referring to Personalization of results by comparing them against your interests.

I think, however, the next frontier for search specifically is not finding better pages, but better structured data in the form of microformats or other forms of structured data from inside pages (like Blue Organizer, Edgeio, Vast). Again, surprised that Alex didn't mention Blue Organizer or the other - considering he owns it. Maybe he did not want to show bias.

Also, going beyond multiple results at all to return the actual answer. Very much like AskX - now THAT's innovation.

Welcome to 2007

Added on by Chris Saad.
Welcome to 2007. Happy new year!

Let's get straight into it.

Last year (Dec 19 to be exact) the clever people over at Read/Write Web published a list of their Web Predictions for 2007. Here is a very cut down summary with my annotations added in italics. Please note the full version from ReadWrite Web is far richer so make sure you click through and check it out.

RSS, Structured Data
  • RSS will go mainstream in a big way next year
    Touchstone will provide a way for the mainstream to more easily understand and consume the value proposition of RSS. Particularly those who don't understand why RSS differs so much from email untill they see it scrolling across their desktop like a ticker or urgent/important headlines SMSed to their phone. Taking the 'RSS' out of the RSS experience will be pivitol.
  • Structured data will be a big trend next year
    RSS is the most common form of semi-structured data out there. Microformats, however, will begin playing a very important role. A reader that can apply actions based on attached or embedded microformat data will be very useful.
  • Widgets exploded in 2006 but will continue rising in 2007
    Web widgets are cool. They help create a loosely coupled web experience with functionality exposed all over the place. Desktop widgets, on the other hand, can just be a mess on your desktop. How many widgets can you look at while you work?


  • Web Office continues to ramp up
    Touchstone will play a pivotal role in helping knowledge workers get alerts when their web-based office apps have new events/actions that need taking care of. The overflowing enterprise email inbox will not surive the influx of email if web-based office apps send an email for each of their alerts and updates.
  • The consumerization of the enterprise trend will start to infiltrate corporate IT, in the form of web-based office apps and more collaborative systems.
    The participant (read: user/employee) is the most important part of any system. The fact that the web and web-based sofware is starting to realize this reality is a welcome change. As enterprises begin to catch up, tools that help individuals manage their own attention will become mission critical.

Web Development

  • Rich Internet Apps will be a major force in 2007. The general trend going on here is that platforms that leverage both the desktop and the Web will be compelling next year, in terms of offering rich functionality that usually can't be found on purely browser-based apps.
    Exactly right. Ajax is great, but it still can't reach beyond the browser sandbox. Client-side applications will, for the foreseeable future, play a very important role in the mix.
  • On the other hand, Google in particular will continue to push the boundaries of browser-based apps.
    And yet they continue to build client-side applications as well. Google's only real successes however have been in services that use search/maths as the main value proposition (e.g. web search and email with search). Google has yet to have a real success at anything else including their web-based office apps or their fabled emerging GoogleOS.
  • Semantic Web products will come of age in 2007.
    Semantic just means structured - and the most important structured format is already here. RSS combined with Microformats make the semantic web an emerging reality. Yet most readers treat RSS like news. Touchstone will force a change.
  • Expect more big things from Amazon next year, to fill in the stack and to provide the foundation for a Web/Amazon WebServices-based OS.

Search and Online Advertising

  • Expect some shakeups in the online advertising market next year.
    Maybe engagement will get some real consideration?
  • Also due to ongoing issues with (CPC/PPC) online advertising, there's a real need for a better, more robust online ad model - perhaps something more than CPA. So watch out for developments in 2007 along those lines.
  • 2007 will be about Search 2.0 and the rise of the vertical search engines. However don't expect Google to lay down and do nothing - they will counter the verticals.
    Google has already launched their custom search engines which is actually a clever way to get users to tag sites with categories. They can then build vertical searches based on this massive amount of accumulated data. They are using us to build their next killer app. Has anyone else noticed? I'd love to know about posts highlighting this fact - post in comments. They once again use our 'Attention Data' for their master plans. I just wish they were more transparent about it.

Microsoft vs Google

  • Microsoft's Windows Live services will gain real momentum next year, thanks to Vista and also Live services.
    Surprise, Surprise. Microsoft will always use its platform and tools to drive adoption of their latest round of products and services. They did it with the browser, media player and portals and they will continue to do it for whatever they do next. When you control the keys you control the rooms that people use. You'd do it too if you were in their position.
  • WebOS /GoogleOS: To counter the Vista and Windows Live threat, Google may come out with some form of GoogleOS.
    Refer to my previous statements about the GoogleOS in this post.
  • Open Source Desktops will continue to gain momentum in '07.
    Getting a growing number of users while maintaining a consistant share of the overall market is not really a sign of success.


  • Browser War II. In 2007 expect the competition between IE7 and FireFox (plus Flock, Opera and Maxthon) to be intense.
    The browser wars were declared when Microsoft realized that IE can actually be beaten by Firefox and announced their renewed focused on a more aggressive update schedule for Internet Explorer. Expect the war to rage on for the foreseeable future (long past 2007 - think of it like a console war now).
  • Speaking of browsers, 2007 will see an increase in WebKits. Adobe's Apollo will be WebKit based, enabling developers to ensure Safari compatibility as well as other browsers.
    I am not yet convinced about WebKits and hybrid applications. The web tool vendors want us to believe that web developers can build better client-side apps using web-tools/languages than more traditional platforms like .NET and C. Maybe that's true. Maybe it's not.


  • Internet-based TV will ramp up in 2007, thanks to products like Brightcove and whatever Google does with YouTube/Google Video.
    Online distribution of TV/Movies is long overdue. Buying DVDs has been a scam perpetrated on the unsuspecting masses for too long. HD-DVD and BluRay look like they are going to extend the rain of crap for a few years more. All content should be delivered over the Internet and on-demand.
  • Mass adoption of IPTV technology in 2007 and Bittorrent will be an important part of the online video landscape too.
    IPTV might be dead on arrival. TV over IP (important distinction here) will always be better. It's amazing to me that Bittorrent is not already integrated into browsers and used for distribution of medium to large files. Hopefully 2007 will see that happen.
  • Virtual worlds: SecondLife will become an important platform for marketing, promotion, and of course social networking.
    Or they will collapse as people realize that they are closed platforms and go in search of more open environments based on technologies analogues to HTML.

Consumer Apps

  • The online real estate market will grow rapidly in '07.
  • The search for disruptive business models will continue! :-) In other words, free consumer web apps still need to find a business model.
    Or die trying
  • While social networks dominated 2006, we wonder if the amount of time an average user spends online will start to negatively impact on their social lives in 2007 and lead to a downturn.
    Tools that make Social networks available on the go will be critical. Messaging inside walled gardens like MySpace will have to give way to more open messaging/forum systems and alert routing technologies (I.e. Touchstone).