Posts Tagged Silobreaker

The Vortex: BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos

On my way to DEMOfall in San Diego this morning and loving/loathing the American Airlines onboard wifi. I can write The Vortex I missed Friday but then again… I can write The Vortex I missed Friday. Also the dude in front of me just reclined his seat. My keyboard is now embedded in my chest.

News from the Social Media Vortex

–Dan Lyons finally snapped and unleashed his fury on Twitter, though as regular readers know, I don’t necessarily disagree with him. As proof of his perceived stupidity of the service, he quotes tweets from Dane Cook. Come on, Dan, try a little harder.

–The much-anticipated rollout of MMS for iPhones supposedly started last week. I’m not sure if/how users will be notified of it though. Can someone make an app for that? (I’m joking. I think.)

–Hey! Somebody finally won the Netflix prize! BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos (that’s the name of my next child) won $1 million for developing a smarter algorithm to power the rental service’s recommendation system. Congrats BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos! God that’s a great name.

Apps on the Radar

–Google Labs has a fun new way to read the news, Fast Flip. Better emulating the experience of reading a printed magazine (pay attention, Kindle), Fast Flip is still an experiment but hopefully signals new attitudes toward digital content.

–And on that subject, I meant to tell you last time about News Dots, an interactive map of news stories from Slate that visually shows connections between people, places, and things in the news. To see the precursor to this technology, check out the Network Maps on Silobreaker, one of my favorite news sites (and a DEMO alum!)

–If all that news is getting you down, try The Onion’s new iPhone app, which includes no news at all, just ironic headlines.

–Two totally unnecessary but completely fun iPhone apps for you: an Army of Darkness app (!) complete with sound clips, and Pirate Tweets, for those times when, well jeez, when do you not need to talk like a pirate?

Tweet of the Week

–It’s a Facebook status rather than a tweet so no link. My college friend Abe has some of the best status updates around, though he does get a bit dark occasionally. He probably wouldn’t friend you if you asked (he’s bitter), so I may compile his truisms into a book one day. I’ll leave you with this to ponder today:

[Don’t] remember exactly, but figure we all liked each other just a little better before it was possible to read an unending stream of each others’ inane bullshit.

Amen brother.

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Search Takes a New Shape

Back in the old days – or the ’90s as some call them – we utilized the Internet as an information resource. What’s that phone number, where is that address, where can I buy that product – you had concrete questions and were no longer required to speak to a human to get answers. Sure, there were bulletin boards and Usenet forums for discussion but they primarily involved coding arguments and game walkthroughs. The Internet wasn’t truly upended into a community, and all that that entails, until just a couple of years ago. It was then that the inundation of bloggers collided with social networking and lifestreaming to produce a perfect storm of content. (And when I say lifestreaming, I mean the trend of putting as many pieces of our life online as possible – books we’re reading, music we like, etc.) We’ve now backed ourselves into a corner online, raging against the indundation of content even as we scroll through our fifth page of FriendFeed updates. We recommend well-written articles about navigating through the noise, right after sharing 25 items in Google Reader.

The logical next step in this technological journey is to therefore prune, to make our time online more meaningful and relevent, no matter how small the nugget of information. Whether I’m setting out to qualify findings in a drug discovery experiment or wondering when Amy Winehouse was last arrested, I want the most reliable, relevant answer in the shortest amount of time. The problem is no longer whether the information is out there but rather how we can get to it quickly and accurately.

It’s against this background that I’m seeing a gradual evolution of the semantic search market. Read the rest of this entry »

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Super Search

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m one of the many obsessed with the semantic Web. It’s a catch-all term for anything, really, that makes Internet content more intelligent. But recent favorites of mine involve connections; tying together seemingly disparate entities online can produce insight heretofore impossible. Two companies here at DEMO have developed incredibly sophisticated algorithms that have changed the way I work. If you do any amount of research online – and who doesn’t these days – run, don’t walk to Silobreaker and Jodange.

I’ve been addicted to Silobreaker for several months now, so was delighted to see new features and a more intuitive design to the site. A current affairs search engine that combines context extraction and relational analysis, Silobreaker provides a 360-degree view on news events, people and places. I know, that sounds somewhat buzzy; you’ll just have to check it out for yourself. I find the network search especially helpful, which offers unprecedented insight into relationships between people and topics around a specific event. I spend a huge amount of time researching and have never stuck with a site so faithfully. Almost without exception, it delivers precisely what I’m looking for every time.

Jodange, which has understandably had a few meetings of like minds with Silobreaker, provides invaluable insight of its own. While Silobreaker pulls salient quotes as part of its entity analysis, Jodange focuses entirely on opinions. Its ‘sentiment analysis’ engine, called TOMS (Top of Mind Service), mines and indexes opinions across the Internet, allowing for a distinct perspective on significant topics. How negative was Hillary Clinton the week of November 17? What is the oil industry’s view of the recent rate cuts by the Fed? Answering questions this specific was previously impossible without hours of research. You just can’t find this stuff on Google. Period.

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A few to watch at DEMO 08

As you saw from Chris’ earlier post, we have a host of groundbreaking, just-plain-cool technologies debuting next week at DEMO 08. The first day of DEMO always brings a big exhale, as we can finally talk publicly about all the fascinating products we’ve been knee-deep in for months. I’ll have to keep holding my breath for a couple more days but couldn’t resist telling just a bit more about what’s on tap next week in Palm Desert. If you can’t join us onsite, stay tuned to the brand new DEMO site (launching Monday) for videos of all the live stage demonstrations.

  • Keep an eye out for a rather large delegation that may show signs of jet lag. Following a trip Chris and I took to Taipei in early December, the Taiwanese government is bringing 11 companies to DEMO, showcasing an impressive level of innovation from this small island. Two of the companies, atlaspost and Citiport, will present onstage. All are proof that tech ingenuity isn’t confined to Northern California.
  • Collaboration is a nut that simply hasn’t been adequately cracked. We keep chipping away though and have found some eye-catching and never-before-seen takes on the solution from Huddle, Chalex, and KonoLive.
  • Search engines aren’t just for the mass consumer. The heavy researchers among us are constantly looking for tools that will reduce time spent scouring data for relevant content. You won’t want to miss Silobreaker or Jodange, two companies I now consider indispensable to my work.
  • As for the just-plain-cool category, Capzles, Rove Mobile, and Yoics are good ones to keep an eye out for.

It’s always interesting to see what clicks with the audience; there are inevitably a few that I didn’t see coming and a few favorites that don’t click as much as I’d hoped. Chris and I will be blogging throughout DEMO; add us to your feed reader so you don’t miss a thing.

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Look Who’s Coming to DEMO 2008

It can now be said…at least in part.

Throughout the Fall, Carla Thompson and I spent uncountable hours sifting through DEMO applications, turning over stones, and interviewing hundreds of companies to come up with the 77 who will launch products next week at DEMO 2008.

At one point in those intense 90 days from late September through Christmas, Carla asked, “Is this just a better group of applicants? There are so many great candidates.”

We did have a tough choice. After all, when you cast the net as wide as we do — looking at every type of product from core components to consumer entertainment — you find yourself weighing the market impact of, say, an advance in enterprise application development against an implementation of a unique consumer search algorithm. Then again, that’s what makes DEMO unique and exciting . . . there’s something for every interest and often, these interests intersect in serendipitous ways leading to unexpected results.

Now, though, the DEMO organization has released the names of the 77 companies introducing products next Monday. The envelop please. . . Read the rest of this entry »

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