Google: Serendipity Engine, Facebook: Personalized Media
Google CEO Eric Schmidt shared his vision of autonomous search, where information comes to users at Tuesday’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. The next day, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stated that the future of media will be personalized. Both parties were making the point that computers and software are getting to the point where they can tailor content for users based on their preferences. An example Schmidt used was a user walking down the street in New York may find their phone pinged with information about places they passed based on previous preferences entered. So if someone really likes beer, then bars they pass will show up on their phone. Sandberg’s take was, “people don’t want something targeted at the whole world, they want something that reflects what they want to see and know.” Acording to Sandberg, in the next 3-5 years, generalized websites will be an ancient. There is a good and bad side to this, as with most things, but it does fit right in with Facebook’s philosophy of personalization. My opinion on this is that while personalization is good, too much personalization shields you from information. How will one learn anything if the only thing they see is what they already know? Same goes for the autonomous search. How will one try new things if they are automatically told where to find what they like all the time? All in all, this is just another step towards what we all know is in our near future and what we have been working towards from the beginning: artificial intelligence.