Had a good time at lunch chatting with Lisa Dusseault from OSAF and Tantek Celik from Technorati about the hcalendar microformat, calendar urls, and lost of other interesting things.
The afternoon panel, on time and functionality is just starting.
Munjal Shah (RIYA) – Tagging lots of digital photo data – uses face recognition and text recognition to infer what and who are in a photo, and turn it into a searchable database. They do it for consumers on the desktop, and have a permissioning model for letting people search their friends. One insight is that consumer photos come with timestamps, which they used to enhance face recognition through time-based clustering. For instance, if there are ten photos of you at a party wearing a particular shirt and only one of them is full-face, they can infer that the other photos of the same shirt around the same time are also you.
Tantek Celik (Technorati) – Time searching on the web is terrible – try looking for just this year’s version of the conference. Technorati relies on pings from blog software for indexing. Before an event people are talking about it, during the event people are blogging it, after the event people write about it. What happens in short time windows? We find that humans are the best at knowing what’s going on right now – the most popular ten searches on Technorati. News – let’s look at what bloggers are linking to in the last forty-eight hours – turns out to not being the same topics a newspaper editor would choose. They see the names of bloggers in far-flung places around the globe that we may not have heard of – it dramatically flattens our view of the world.
Esther asks when most documents will have timestamps on the web – Tantek asks whether you can trust time information in documents? The ping is a more reliable time stamp, because Technorati knows when the ping was received and when they went out and retrieved the information. As we get used to copying info from the web we’ll make much more use of time-based information. Technorati is working on microformats, small extensions to html that enable information within web pages to identify the same kind of information as ical and vcards.
John Arenas (Worktopia) – Worktopia is about the premise that the ubiquitous network and collaboration tools are freeing the workforce from physical limitations. Matches demands such as temporary space with supply. Enables companies to have a distributed workforce. This kind of relationship allows hotels and other meeting spaces to tap short-term markets between big meetings, for example. John notes that Sun now has 1.5 workers per desk, so this is an accelerating trend.
Ben Cruze (Demand ID Systems) – enabling users to request live music events, and over time other kinds of events. Provide a market intelligence to show level of demand for a performer in any part of the country – that doesn’t exist today. On the back end, when an event is scheduled, they alert consumers who requested the event, so they can purchase tickets and merchandise. They can also alert sponsors to how many people might be likely to attend an event, so they can better plan and target their sponsorship dollars. The consumer service is under the brand name of Tourvote. Enabling people to have a voice in creating an event is important.
What’s the business model? Munjal – Search is the model – you’ll search for places, products, and things – not professional pictures but user generated pictures, which reflect reality better. The premise is that travel advertising will support the business. Tantek – Marketers are using Technorati to do research on their brands.
Mark Johnson from Intuit on how does time influence decision making? The (somewhat silly) example he gives is the decision of whether to spend $4 a day on a venti cappucinno vs. $4 a day on Starbuck’s stock. Esther comments on making latent demand visible – knowing that you’re part of a larger group that all want Bonnie Raitt to show up. How is our discount factor changing with respect to time?
Ben asks Munjal the question about whether people have the right to put up pictures of buildings and other businesses that they don’t own, and about the tension between business owners who want to link to photos of their businesses and the reality of what user photos might actually show (e.g. the cockroach in a hotel).