Howard Rheingold: Discovery Engines Trying–and Failing

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Howard Rheingold


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Discovery Engines: Policing The Riot Of Information Overload | Fast Company

Taming this torrent into something manageable and highly relevant is increasingly seen as the key for Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and any other chaotic content network looking to realize monster revenue.
That explains why discovery is the word du jour in tech. It also explains why there's a flurry of activity to build a “discovery engine,” the search engine's smart-ass cousin that tries to answer vague queries (like “funny video”–one of the top searches on YouTube).

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Phi Beta Iota:  Discovery today sucks, one reason Google is not worth much for serious intelligence (decision-support) endeavors.  As Stephen E. Arnold has documented so ably, there are over 75 search engines, each with its own niche, and no one has put them together.  Worse, they only tap into the 2% or so that is the surface web, and do not do deep web (for that, dee Deep Web Technologies).  Worse, Google shows you what someone else has paid for you to see, not what you actually need or can get for free.  The bleeding edge of the mature intelligence world is focused on multinational information-sharing and sense-making, and on human computation, including leveraging the diasporas for crowdsourcing everything from translation to imagery interpretation.

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