July 22, 2007

Aggregation, consolidation and information summarization

The next big thing on the internet has to be about simplicity. Internet has come to a point where its growth will become the cause of its own downfall without a dramatic change in the way it grows. Almost everyone I know has a yahoo mail, gmail and hotmail mail accounts. And now they are on linkedin, orkut and facebook too. Keeping track of your own logins,passwords, email addresses is difficult as it is, and now you have to keep up with all the new services your social network is plugged into.

I see 3 things happening in the next couple of years, some of which have already started.

  • Consolidation of services - Google is slowly building a suite of applications like microsoft and yahoo. And others who don't have a big war chest to build it themselves are getting others to build it for them (think facebook apps).

  • Aggregation of services - Plaxo does a good job of syncing up multiple addressbooks and phone directories. We would be seeing a lot more of applications like these. This would also lead to more openness, and though its a little farfetched, it is possible to see microsoft,yahoo and google themselves providing an option to sync up with others. And while all this is going on, there are smaller services like symbaloo and IM aggregators like Trillian and meebo filling in the void.

  • Information Summarization - This might sound new, but its already happening today. Aggregation of services by itself gives you a birds eye view of all the information flowing in, but without additional intelligence you still have to read through all your blogs and emails to understand what is going on. Using a combination of different mechanisms, like your preference settings , information clustering algorithms, NLP/NLG (Natural language processing/Generation) algorithms, it can help you cut through your daily feeds and emails swiftly.