Product ideas

The next web to be user-centric (thoughts on David Siegel’s Pull book)

January 18th, 2010 by Greg Boutin

How much time do you waste searching for stuff on the web, or filling up forms with similar information over and over?

For all its might, utility, and growth, what we have today is a scattered web, a web of distant destinations, on which finding information requires a whole expedition across loosely-connected archipelagos of data, each with its own information requirements, rules of engagement, and gravitational attempts at capturing your time and money.

So, when David Siegel contacted me to review his upcoming book Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business, I was immediately attracted by his core premise, the creation of a web that would automatically wrap around us and serve us based on the actual characteristics and needs of our lives.



Web appsAny Physical Barrier Between our Real and Virtual Worlds?

September 22nd, 2008 by Greg Boutin

It’s indirectly related to the Semantic Web, but there is an interesting post today by Nova Spivack, Twine‘s creator, on the digital space increasingly branching out into the physical world and expanding it.

Nova’s central claim is that “the digital world is going physical”, with the digital world extending and “incorporating” the physical one by offering additional environments for us to interact with. Most of the examples provided actually support the idea that the physical world is more fully captured, represented and analyzed digitally, rather than the idea that virtual is going physical; but Nova rightly sees a linear trend here in that, once the material environment is more fully digitized, the virtual world can enhance it.

That doesn’t quite make the virtual world “physical” but, as a catchy marketing phrase to capture our attention, it worked :) (more…)

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Web appsTag Conversion Utility

June 30th, 2008 by Greg Boutin

In my previous post, I proposed a grand “supertag” vision reminiscent of some of the ideas of the semantic web. In fact, it is this vision that led to my first contact with the semantic web. I was wondering about the best approach to tagging and autotagging while working on an application called TagOver, and there was some crossover with semantic technologies.

Since then, I have also become further convinced that every vision should be sequenced in small stand-alone steps that each deliver a well thought-out benefit to some users. In the context of “Supertags”, I propose that this first step be a Tag Conversion agent. (more…)

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Web appsSupertagging the Web

June 29th, 2008 by Greg Boutin
old zodiac map, holland

Image by oceandesetoiles via Flickr

I have a confession to make. I am impatient. So much so that, even though computers made it into my life two decades or so, and the web, a decade or so, I am frustrated every day with the state of computing. And something in particular has been bugging me for quite a while now. For the world of me, I can’t get why we’re still using folders to organize information. Folders force me to compartmentalize information, in an exclusive, hierarchical way. Each file or, broadly speaking, piece of content, can only be in one folder at a time, unless it’s copied twice. In fact, folders are just one very constrained type of tags. Very inefficient, very paper-like, very 20th century. Tags are so much better. And for full disclosure, I’ve been working on an idea for a while. But, as I couldn’t take any talented programmer away from the yet-another mashup or facebook app they were working on at that time, I am presenting an extended concept here, with three hopes: that it highlights some of the benefits I expect from the semantic web or from the future forms of tagging, that it guides entrepreneurs to develop new value propositions based on those early adopter needs, and lastly, maybe, that a talented programmer realizes the potential and contacts me to assess a partnership. (more…)

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