The Lifestream Filter Will be the Next Great Algorithm War

I’m paraphrasing the title of this post from David Recordon who threw this line out following a chat I had with him a couple of weeks back. It’s a very insightful observation that predicts opportunities in the real-time world which lifestream services operate.

It’s now easier than ever to pull together an aggregated feed of content from across the web. Facebook and FriendFeed organize this content around your friends and contacts. MyBlogLog also presents a New in My Neighborhood view which shows a mixed feed of all your contact’s lifestream content. Yet, once you get more than a handful a friends on these systems, the number of updates (especially if any of them are using twitter) quickly spins out beyond what you can handle.

Twitter is often used to announce new blog posts and the new broadcast service from Six Apart, Blog It, only exasperates the problem by spawning multiple posts from a single Facebook entry. We live in a world where finding out what your friends are doing is not a problem. The difficulty is in filtering through the hundreds of updates that stream by each day to those events that are most relevant without losing the sense of serendipitous discovery that we experience today.

So here we are today. It’s like we’re all discovering search engines all over again. In a matter of weeks we’ve gone from “Wow! I can find everything here!” to, “Crap! Over 600,000 results for the phrase Serendipitous Discovery? How can I find the one reference I’m looking for?”

The huge opportunity ahead is a filter to bubble up the things you need to know without missing anything you want to know.

A couple of posts point to this being a trend

We’re trying a few things out at MyBlogLog that vector results based on how you have tagged yourself on your profile. Right now, in a user’s New in My World feed, it’s a straight, chronological feed based on items that match your tags. Also, because it’s based on meta-data, this only means we can present you with items that are tagged so that leaves out plain text updates such as twitter posts but we’re just getting started.

As David’s quote indicates, this is a huge opportunity and something I look forward to working on. I look forward to a robust debate on different approaches in the coming weeks!

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