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!





9 responses to “The Lifestream Filter Will be the Next Great Algorithm War”

  1. Olivier D. alias ze Avatar
    Olivier D. alias ze

    We may build better war-machine than CIA used :o))) .oO
    BigBrother for ALL
    At everytime, any centuries, obtain good news is main way to victory… Today, everybody could engage war of information accross the Web for their professional or personal life.
    Sing with me this fake of french “La Marseillaise” * national anthem :
    Take your social weapons,
    Join communitys battalions,
    Deserve all mankind with your best mind !
    (*) war song while european wars where young french republic fight against monarchy alliance.

  2. ian Avatar

    Olivier, you crack me up 🙂

  3. Greg Cohn Avatar
    Greg Cohn

    couldn’t agree with you more

  4. It’s not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure Avatar

    […] that we now have too much to process. As I said back in April, the new challenge is coming up with the right filter. Once you’ve pulled together all your personal and professional contacts into a single feed, […]

  5. Techmeme is hiring Avatar

    […] Techmeme is hiring someone to tweak their algorithms. It’s a new kind of role but one which I think we’ll be seeing more of in the future; in newsrooms and in corporate PR departments. When it’s so easy to aggregate, the next great war will be over the filter algorithm. […]

  6. Real-time search, Art or Science? Avatar

    […] they become trends, that is the challenge. I’ve said it before, better filters will be the next great algorithm war. We’ve all become enamored with twitter search which we all know is imperfect and […]

  7. Performancing Stream of Consciousness – Thur Apr 24, 2008 : Performancing Avatar

    […] Dosh Dosh talks about the benefits of social media aggregators. Ian Kennedy at Everwas feels that lifestream filtering will become an algorithm […]

  8. oliezekat Avatar

    Hi Ian,

    I never forget this post. LiFE2Front project seem dead but I had still study on datastream problems past years.

    I work on something, – a framework -, since 6 month…

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: