Marc Canter posted the social computing stuff he's going to show me on Monday. Can't wait.
I've been thinking a bit about social software (Orkut, Linked In, Friendster, and the like) and here's what they are going to be interesting for: finding people.
Now, if you already know the name of someone, Google already works remarkably well, particularly if the person you are looking for has a weblog. Search Google for "Robert" for instance, and you'll find I'm the second Robert. Search for "Dori" and you'll find Smith. Search for "Tim", and you'll find Bray. Search for "Jeffrey" and you'll find Zeldman. Search for Dave and you'll find Winer. Search for Mark, and you'll find Pilgrim. Search for "Doc" and you'll find Searls. Newer webloggers, like my brother Alex, require you to search for both his first and last name, but that's still doable. Yeah, it isn't perfect (if you don't have a blog, or you didn't use your first or last name on it, it's very hard to find you). That's where services like Orkut, Friendster, LinkedIn, etc will help.
One problem: I don't want to search for blogs by name only. I want to look for groups of bloggers. Someone, who asked not to be named on this blog, yesterday asked me "what if I want to find all Egyptian bloggers?" How about "all gay Egyptian bloggers?" Or, how about "webloggers who play bridge?" Or, "webloggers who are also executives?" Or, "webloggers who ski?"
You can see this can go on and on.
Lately I've been doing searches on Technorati. If you search on a term like, say, "quilting" there, you'll find all blogs that mention quilting, and they are in some sort of order based on how many inbound links they have and they bias toward webloggers who mentioned quilting in the past few days.
That's cool, but I want a new kind of search engine that combines the full-text approach that Feedster.com uses with the inbound-link analysis that Technorati does. So, I want to see webloggers who are most likely to talk about quilting in the future.
Does that make sense? Past behavior as a predictor of future behavior. In other words, if I wrote about digital photography several times in the past (I have) maybe I'll write about it in the future (I will).
Anyone working on a search engine like this? Now, imagine if you combined it with Orkut. Now, in the result set, match results up with Orkut profiles. Put pictures next to the weblogs that return. Wow. That might really be disruptive.
Such a system might get millions of people to give up Outlook's contact system.
Hmm, Google owns all the pieces to do this. So does MSN. So does Yahoo. So does Friendster and Technorati, or DayPop and Technorati, or PubSub and Technorati (if they work together). The race is on!
Wow, I think this is a first. I don't remember a Senior Vice President here at Microsoft leaving a comment in my blog before today (heck, I don't think anyone above a general manager position has commented before). Eric Rudder posted this in my comments:
I really did want to show it was OK to blog.
I know there are many who agree with Doug, and who get on my case about not spending enough time posting. But I need to make a tradeoff in terms of either me personally posting, or encouraging the 20,000 people in the Server and Tools Business to spend more time interacting with the community, and I have chosen to do the latter.
I still do chats on TechNet, post to the occasional newsgroup, and spend time with MVP's and the like -- but I am sure there are folks that would like to see me post more. I promise to give it a shot if I can free up some time elsewhere.
My response: Eric, one thing to know is that blogging is just another way that you can drive the agenda in the industry. Look at what Dallas Maverick's CEO, Mark Cuban, is doing with his blog. He's using it to talk directly to the world about issues he's passionate about. Some people view Mark as a hothead, but look at how he's changing how people think about the issues. He already had a pretty good channel to be heard through the reporters that cover his team, but reporters have their own agendas and limitations (they usually are given something like 10 column inches to discuss something -- there's no way you can talk about something that isn't important to the news media in 10 column inches).
For instance, we released Speech Server at VSLive this week. OK, that's cool. You can read all about it in this MSNBC article. Here's Google's News Search on the topic, for even more. But, something is missing.
What is it? Well, where's the passion about technology that our ads talk about? You guys sure get excited about this stuff, and know the strengths and weaknesses, plus have all sorts of interesting behind-the-scenes stories that never get reported. Stories help personalize a new technology and help get adoption. I'm sure the team reviewed this tech with executives quite a few times. What did you like? How do you see this being used? Any funny stories from the product reviews?
I'd love to hear that. For instance, check out Chris Pratley's weblog (he runs the OneNote team). He speaks with a human voice and gets us into his decision making on the OneNote product.
I'd love to see that from other executives here. Don't get caught up on the audience being small, either. If you've noticed, the influentials and the press will soon be reading you, if they don't already.
Oh, one other thing, executives shouldn't feel pressured to post often. I'm subscribing to your blog in RSS. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Why is that significant? Well, whenever you post something, we'll see it and spread the word. I really wish all of our teams here would publish in RSS. Syndication is another area where Apple is really kicking our behinds again. This is an important trend that marketers need to realize (people want to have a permanent marketing relationship with each product team, and right now they aren't being served. Email is screwed up. Web sites force users to remember URLs and revisit the sites. RSS/Syndication is so so superior to other methods. Interesting that Eric Rudder's organization actually is leading inside Microsoft. MSDN, for instance, is available in RSS. So, now let's go the next step: every team at Microsoft should have an RSS feed.
Finally, wow. I didn't realize there were 20,000 people in "Eric Rudder's organization." That's amazing. Imagine if Eric wanted to get to meet everyone for one minute in his organization (I got about three in the parking lot yesterday). That would be 333 hours, and that's if he didn't stop to take a break.
Yet, by posting to a weblog he can talk with us all. Oh, and Eric, inside Microsoft we now have blogs setup at http://blogs -- that'd be a great way for you to communicate with all 20,000 of your employees.
Sometimes I make mistakes. Blame it on the margaritas I was drinking last night. I should add that to the corporate weblogger manifesto. Never blog under the influence. Anyway, I don't want you to miss Carl Franklin's Best of Clementine. He's the guy who does .NET Rocks (Speaking of which, they posted a new interview with Marcus Eggers). Also the guy who had the first Visual Basic website up.
Josh Petersen has a picture of MSN's new BlogBot.
Good morning, hope you're having a nice weekend. My brother's blog is getting more interesting. I was reminded of it when I was over at Mike McBride's excellent IT weblog. For instance Alex, my brother who works as an IT guy at a well-known Silicon Valley lawfirm, has rants on not being a packrat, and even gives his experience of calling Microsoft's technical support lines.