From Los Angeles with love

15 Mar

The very first day somebody explained to me what Glass was about I just struggled. I saw there the next step the Internet was taking. I was astonished by the technology they were trying to apply plus the people that was making it possible. But lets start from the very first thing, the concept.

The World Wide Web, was born in the CERN in the 1990’s. The purpose of it was to host a bunch of documents that could be shared among the multiple scientists that were in the institution. This later, coupled with the Internet network, spreaded all over the world in no more that a decade.

The www, as we know it now, has developed from a simple information repository to a really complex platform of interaction. The steps taken to arrive to this modern world network that has all of us interconnected are really simple to explain.

Once the Internet was a really big repository that hosted any sort of information, going through the vast amount of documents alone was almost impossible. I still remember when search engines as Lycos or Excite started to be popular. In Spain for example, ozu.es came to be as one of the first Spanish search engines. They really improved the Internet surfing, but also closed the scope of what you were seeing of it. From there, including Google, the Internet was only what they had listed in their files and maps. From one side it was enough, but from the other side, the Internet became then a small sample of all its potential. If you were not in listed in a search engine, you were not in the Internet.

After this boom of webpages, the technology advance to a place where allowed users to send information to the webpages itself. The interaction between the user and the Internet started there. Forums exploded, places to write reviews and also the famous guestbooks where you could post an opinion about the website. This made a new era of the Internet, where we could potentially leave our fingerprint into the Internet. Allowed us to be part of the Internet. This is how small personal publishing media started to launch. Blogs as we know them now started in 1997 with the Web Log terminology that later was shortened to we “blog”.

Also the appearance of the Wiki (litteral translation of the word “fast” from Hawaiian) made the collective creation of content fusible. Now you don’t need to be an expert on a general matter but an expert on a small portion of the matter to add value to a document that other experts have written for you. This simplifies the document and content creation.

At this point, the so-called Internet 2.0 started to explode. Interaction sites started to grow as meeting sites and social networks. Hi5, myspace, and others blew the Internet users with new potential usages of their time than just surfing around pages or posting blogs to the public. They could actually use the Internet as a communication tool.

Facebook followed and Twitter made a new perspective mixing the short message concept with the Internet “everywhere-including my mobile” potential. This Internet came completely different from the starting one. From a simple Information repository we have moved to a social Internet where we hold and store our life relationships. A place where we won’t forget about a friend’s birthday or our marriage aniversary. Where we can post a message instantly when a catastrophe happens in our family’s country and find out how they are.

But here is a clue, both worlds of the Internet are still separated. The information repository does not have much to do with the social networking Internet. There is some gaps in the middle filled up with some blogging, some twittering and some reviews postings. But there is no physical connection between both worlds as we understand them.

Lately we are seeing how the big corporations were moving to this gap. Microsoft started Bing to be more than a search engine, but a decision making helper. This means that community reviews of something are more relevant to the search than the search itself. Google has launched various tools to move into this place too, with Google Sidewiki and Buzz. Tools that allow to leave a comment in any public webpage than later anybody can read. But none has yet arrived to the real place in the middle of both worlds, where your real social life interacts with the Internet information repository to improve your Internet experience.

Glass does this exactly perfect. While the other tools are modifying their interfaces and software to cover this gap, Glass is designed and developed just for that. It connects your social world with your Internet information repository.

Imagine that while you are surfing the Internet, you can have in real time the pages where your connections have left their opinion of these pages. Not only that, but also imagine that the comments they put in a page in form of a small note (like post-it notes on paper documents) are focused personally. I can literally put a small “slide” (this is how these notes are called) for my friend in Spain about an actress in her webpage and in the meantime I can set another slide to my other friend in LA that is looking for atresses for his movie. Both slides won’t have the same content, and also the page is going to be completely different for both persons, as my view of this page for each of them is not the same!.

This is a new place in the Internet evolution, where the social connections now affects to your surfing of the information repository. From now on, your Google searches, your news reviews and your social sharing places are not going to be the same. You are able, with Glass, to show your different points of views and relevance to each person you are connected to.

And this is what I saw in Glass that brought me to Los Angeles from Spain. And from the part I contribute to the project, in Data Products, I see a huge potential. The point that allow us to drive all this product data back to the user in a way like any other tool has never done before. We are in a place where we can tell the user what is behind each link, allowing them to make a different relevance order to the links they see in a page. Furthermore, we can enhance their experience when going to places they could have never seen without Glass. Places hidden in the Internet from the usual search engines and relevant to your connections.

Also for the Internet, this data can be a new way to see how the connections affect to their websites. How the people are clustered around their websites and concepts. How the social links drive people to their websites and potentially to their products. How a slide in a blog can potentially drive a sale in their online e-commerce site. Also how the idea of a person leaving his impression into a page can drive dozens of thousands of people to it.

Now the right content is relevant to the right people.

Welcome to your real Internet, welcome to Glass!

Una respuesta to “From Los Angeles with love”

  1. Wojciech Szela Mar 16, marzo 2010 a 11:48 #

    I must say I was very impressed too when I saw Glass. It did not do much at the time, just creating slides, but it lighten up lots bulbs in my head. Lots!

    I’ve tried to use Twitter, as “publisher” and as reader and it sux. When Google released Buzz I thought this is it, Twitter like things I could use to share things with my friends and family. But still, it isn’t it. Yes, it’s located where most of my communication activities happen – it’s part of my MUA and it’s available everywhere I go. But it’s not where and when I want to share something, it’s still separate thing. In this sense IM is way better.

    When I find something interesting and want to share it with someone or just save for reference, I want to do it where I have found it and when I have found it. No new software, twitter clients sitting in OS notification area, special websites, ugly sidebar comments/wikis or whatever it is. Short URLs? WTF, I want it HERE. Here, now, point&click, say few words and done. Just like labeling documents with yellow cards/stickies, but now yellow cards are interactive.

    And I want it everywhere, and I want gadgets 🙂 I mean everywhere – laptop, mobile, ebook reader, office software… Once it’s everywhere, please give me gadgets, like in Wave (fantastic tool thanks to how you can collaborate online and gadgets you can add, like sales charts or source code syntax coloring – for peer review).

    Great job Glass team. Keep on working on the product. It already does pretty good job and has huge potential.

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