Sam's encounter with manufactured serendipity

Sam's encounter with manufactured serendipity

Jon is right that Radio is a lab for group-forming , but one thing he apparently missed is that there is enough data out there for Google to be a part of the equation. [ Sam Ruby's Radio Weblog ]

Absolutely. The fact that blogs are exposed to public search engines is a key ingredient. I tend to take this for granted, though it bears repeated mention.

The tricky thing, looking forward, is keeping the manufactured serendipity going when you start to cleave off private or semi-private spaces. Years ago Netscape's Collabra handled this nicely. All your private newsgroups were indexed, but search results were appropriately filtered on user credentials. Even so, there were subtleties. When you play the game of information hiding, it's easy to forget what has been hidden from whom, and why. And since information sources are never homogenous, you also have to think about federating different search engines.

It's lovely when we can all share a common, open, and relatively flat infrastructure, as we do here. When we get to a world of overlapping and federated zones of collaboration, with differing policies about access and sharing, there will be hard problems to solve. In solving these kinds of problems, it will become much more obvious what all the SOAP/WSDL/UDDI plumbing was for. There will also be fascinating UI challenges.

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