Skip to main content

Carving Up the Social Graph Turkey

After much deal-making and jockeying in the previous quarters, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google at last revealed their near-term Social Search plays at today's Web 2.0 Summit.
  • Facebook announced the impending launch of its own social search platform + a deal with minority investor Microsoft that brings FB status updates to Bing.  
  • Google announced a new Social Search capability that pulls friend-relevant data from most core social networks with the notable exception of Facebook + a deal with Twitter to bring real-time tweets to the search engine.
  • Microsoft announced the Facebook/Bing deal + a Twitter deal virtually identical to Google's.
  • Twitter stuck to its open-expansion-uber-alles strategy, announcing it's willing to play nice with anyone who will help it fend off Facebook from its niche.
The moves clearly demonstrate the increasing value of structured social data (aka the emerging social graph) to search services and should silence skeptics that have complained about the valuation of large social networks.

They also demonstrate one form of massive disruption to search markets: an all-out race to subsume new pools of structured data.  It's obvious that Facebook and Microsoft, who recently unveiled a deal to subsume computational search engine Wolfram Alpha, see this as one of the more effective strategies for countering Google's seach dominance. 

Prediction: Once these big deals are wrapped up I expect that we'll witness a slew of search-access deals with companies that control pools of unique search-relevant data  (e.g. IBM,Technorati, Second Life, stallite mapping services), perhaps eventually resulting in granular opt-in controls (similar to Google AdSense) for smaller niche federations looking to monetize their proprietary data.

Just think of search engines as big brains competing to integrate modules of novel, search-relevant structured data.

Viewing search from this perspective brings much necessary context to Google's long-term search growth plan, explaining why seemingly disparate initiatives like Maps, Earth, Google 411, books, etc are actually part of a cohesive strategy that will consistently add value to the company's core search offering over the coming years.  It is this deliberately planned integration that Google appears poised to retain its dominance.  Thus, minus an Earth-shattering search AI breakthrough, direct competitors like Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook must acquire or grow their own pools of unique, relevant and integratable structured data if they are to keep pace.

At the same time, expect new entrants in regions such as Russia, China and India to either license their data to the hungry big boys or focus on the expansion of their native search efforts.  All that's required is some magic translation pixie dust.  Oh snap, Google appears to have that technology marketed cornered.

Conclusion: The social graph turkey is but a single, albeit core, item on the long table of search.  Expect many more scrumptious, exotic foods to emerge from the data kitchen.  Google does and has been adjusting its digestive technologies accordingly.

Popular posts from this blog

Building Human-Level A.I. Will Require Billions of People

The Great AI hunger appears poised to quickly replace and then exceed the income flows it has been eliminating. If we follow the money, we can confidently expect millions, then billions of machine-learning support roles to emerge in the very near-term, majorly limiting if not reversing widespread technological unemployment.

Human-directed machine learning has emerged as the dominant process for the creation of Weak AI such as language translation, computer vision, search, drug discovery and logistics management. Increasingly, it appears Strong AI, aka AGI or "human-level" AI, will be achieved by bootstrapping machine learning at scale, which will require billions of humans in-the-loop


How does human-in the-loop machine learning work? The process of training a neural net to do something useful, say the ability to confidently determine whether a photo has been taken indoors or outside, requires feeding it input content, in this case thousands of different photographs, allowing…

Ingress - A Precursor of the World to Come

With over 500K active players, Ingress, the Google-funded augmented reality game for Android, is about to exit Beta and already marks a notable step forward in gaming and interactive media. As it scales, it could have a major psychological and material impact on our world.



Ingress as Indicator: Futurists, tech bloggers, entrepreneurs, investors and sci-fi writers all spend much time scouring the world for interesting signals from the edge to identify emerging trends or even the next big thing. In the past decade, many have zeroed in on gamification, augmented reality and the ongoing mobile explosion as important zones of development. Residing squarely at the intersection of these potent growth areas is Ingress, the quirky augmented reality game that hearkens to visions of the future contained in works like Snow Crash, Otherland and Rainbows End. As I’ve played the game (I’m up to Level 7 of 8), I’ve come to believe that it’s an important precursor of things to come.


Gameplay: Created b…

Donald Trump, Entertainer-in-Chief

The days of the presidential presidency are behind us.  

JFK was the first TV President. He and his successors exuded a distinctly presidential vibe as they communicated confidently to the masses, primarily through color video, usually behind a podium or in high-power settings, on a monthly or sometimes weekly basis.

Donald Trump is the first Web & Reality TV President. He spent a decade as host and producer of the hit show The Apprentice and exudes a distinctly colloquial vibe across cable and the web. Trump prefers titanic business settings like board rooms and communicates to the masses at a daily or even hourly rate, even after the election. Twitter is his pulpit.

Trump is a seasoned, self-aware, master content producer AND actor. In sports, the equivalent is a player/coach, a Peyton Manning or LeBron. He's calculatedly sloppy and unpredictable, which appears to boost his authenticity and watchability. Most importantly, he's relentless.

Trump's magic media formula: 

Tru…