Tag Archives: relevance

Rushmore Drive: An Ethnic Targeted Search Engine

Corvida wrote an interesting post on a new ethnically targeted search engine called Rushmore Drive. She talks about it not being right to differentiate search based on skin colour. When put in that context it is hard to disagree with her thoughts. I commented there on her post but I wanted to expand on it here further.

Theoretically the idea is sound though if looked at in a different context – different cultures like (or search for) different things. That’s why they have different cultures, how bland it would be if we all wanted the same things! It’s natural that someone with a certain culture would use a search engine that is tailored to them – not because of their skin colour but because it finds them the results they want. Of course, it is a bit chicken and egg.. the service was designed for a certain community which you might be able to differentiate by skin colour, and yet it meets that community’s requirements. It may not be ethically a good thing differentiating software on skin colour but African-Americans (in this case) would be happier I bet to use a search engine which finds them what they want rather than have to search through Google.

That was the reason I left Altavista for Google in the first place.

I think over time though this specific search engine is irrelevent – Google (and the other major search players out there) will highly likely introduce profiles that tailor it’s results based on you (equally I would hope you could switch this off if you did not want Google to know that much about you).

life stream aggregators vs. standard social networking

Dylan Fuller (from A Fuller View which I highly recommend subscribing to) commented on an earlier post asking what was the difference between life stream aggregators do and standard social networking – and even more importantly should he join them.

My short answer, was not right now. Here is the more longwinded answer!

Firstly, life stream aggregators vs standard social networking. Let’s list some of each to start with:

Standard Social Networks:
1. Facebook
2. Bebo
3. MySpace

Life Stream Aggregators
1. FriendFeed
2. Tumblr
3. Social Thing

If you look at the standard social networks they all offer pretty much the same thing with different emphases (MySpace was music, Facebook was connecting with friends). Here are some of the things they offer:

1. Ability to connect to friends
2. Photos
3. Public (and private) messaging
4. Status updates
5. News feed of events (usually) done by your friends.

Amongst Internetphiles, people have been moving more and more away from Facebook and towards individual specialised services and until recently there has been nothing to bring it all together.

Life stream Aggregators brings many of the different items (and more) listed above into one feed for all your friends across the web and across services. The real problem is one of scale.

It has one single feed and treats everyone the same. The feed gives so much information that you can never keep up with everything – and worse most of the information is not relevant. It suffers from the same issue as Twitter – if you follow too many people you lose the value of the service. What is needed is a way of saying I want to see in my main feed photos, news, mutterings from Group X, and only shared items and posts from Group Y. Even better I want to be able to have multiple feeds. Once this starts to happen, this could become a great tool to manage your attention data (ie see what you need to see at the right time).

In the meantime, if you are using specialised online services such as Twitter, Flickr, You Tube, Seesmic etc it is worthwhile keeping an eye on life stream aggregators (especially Friendfeed and Tumblr) and even worth trying with a small group of close friends.

On a separate note – I wonder when email will get integrated into this stream..

Is gmail hiding the from address in google apps spam folder?

It has been common knowledge among email marketers that the “Friendly from name” is more important than the subject line. People scan the friendly from name to decide which emails are from people they recognise. If it is from someone they know then they are less likely to treat it as spam.

Roll on my Gmail junk folder. It was getting big so I thought I’d take a quick scan before deleting them. Of course with the emails being in the spam folder, I had only the from name and the subject line to go on – the images themselves are obscured. So I see “River Island” and “M&S” and thought I might want to see their emails in the future and click the “not spam” button. No sooner do I look at them with images do I know immediately it is spam and Google got it right.

Darn! I should have expanded the friendly from name so I could see the actual from address. It was obvious this was not from the sender it purported to be but this is hidden by default in the Google Apps version of Gmail. This doesnt seem to be the case in my standard gmail account.