Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Woe Unto Those Who Search For New Material

So, if you take advantage of a recommendation system, it will be somewhat useful, but it's sadly limited to your subjects- a year ago Stumbleupon.com was really cool; now it's serving me so much stuff on CSS and Photoshop that I thumbsdown any page with those words on it. Also, how many landing pages with that same blond girl in the that "college" pose can there be? I wonder if the feeling engendered by those unhelpful web pages translates into any pain in her social life. Surely if you actually see her in person, you'd feel this strange urge back away as your hand instinctively tries to click the mouse button to get off that page?

Google's recommendation system is based largely on what we all have in common. I find that means it recommends far too much in small areas. Tech is an overserved niche on the internet; I already have plenty of tech news and most of it is redundant anyway. The real question is- who does it best? Google's recommendation system can't do that- as you firm up a reading list on a subject, it's more likely to give you the marginal players in that space. It's a question of depth, I guess. If you already have two or three solid writers covering the subject, chances are the next five recommended aren't going to be anywhere near as good.

The completely random search is a bit scary.

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