smartcomputing header Tech Trend: Smarter Computing

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

Definition
With the amount of information growing exponentially, internet users can often find sorting through it a daunting and time-consuming task. Web intelligence tools can sort and identify relevant information to solve this problem.

In the past, computers have retrieved information based on individual queries. What if all of those queries and browsing history were compiled to create a user profile? Based on that user profile, imagine a search engine anticipating your next move — creating the most convenient, relevant user experience. We will also discuss how GPS technology and search engines are combining to bring additional relevancy to your search.

Elements
Adaptive – It’s not enough to just retrieve information; it needs to be exactly what we want. Imagine a search engine that selects web sites based on those you already enjoy. Therefore you won’t need to look passed the top 3 to find what you’re looking for. This function is possible through adaptive algorithms that change to suit the individual user.
Geographic — GPS has sparked a new revolution in mobile technology. Formerly reserved for the military, GPS has hit the consumer market in a very big way. It started with devices to help you find directions as you drive, but with the advancement of smart phone technology there has been an explosion of new application for GPS. This technology can connect us to our surroundings in ways we never imagined possible.

Examples
Google Magic — The “Sort by Magic” in Google Reader feature suggests blog posts based on your Reader browsing history and feeds. Blending “Sort by Magic” with the “Popular” function, relevant, interesting and highly targeted information is brought to the end-user.
Mozilla Raindrop — The inbox is very democratic — in that every e-mail carries the same weight. Your Jet Blue coupon is just as important as an e-mail from your mother. Mozilla Raindrop fixes this problem through a hierarchical rating system that prioritizes your incoming mail so important information doesn’t get buried and lost.
Loopt — You can be the king of your local cafe. Simply go there enough and you could crowned king by Loopt. Loopt is a social-mapping service for you mobile device. It connects you to other users based on your location. For instance, on your way to the bookstore, you can see that your friend is in a local boutique on Loopt’s interactive map. Maybe you could help her pick out a lamp for her new apartment. This is just one of many features from the social-mapping app.
Android — The Google Droid phone utilizes Google Map street view and overlays graphics to give users the most effective GPS device. Instead of using a birds eye view, the Droid navigation app use street view to help you better understand your direction.

Prediction
Through web intelligence tools, ads will be more targeted and relevant. Advertising placements will be based on individual user browsing history, not your search. Accordingly, the tone of advertisements would change with each user. For instance, if you’re browsing Ars Technica instead of Mashable, you most likely have a technical background — therefore ads should be geared to a more digitally savvy user.

Read the rest of the consumer tech trends here.

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