Fast Company did a report on Pandora – the internet radio king – on what is the driving force behind their success, and it’s not some fancy algorithm that makes their product awesome.
The fact that Pandora is as successful as they are can 100% be attributed to the music lovers that feed their technology. Music aficionados pour all kinds of data into Pandora and as a result Pandora is able to match artists to users based on their music preferences and listening habits. The same can be said for Groupon, who “uses humans to curate its deal-of-the day service” as Fast Company writer Tyler Gray says.
The fact that people are feeding the web everyday with personal preferences in what we search, research, purchase, discuss, share…anything and everything we do is defining the digital versions who we are and thus what we want. We continue to redefine ourselves as we gain knowledge or interest in new areas, or even as we age, and when we translate that knowledge or interest to the web, our digital persona evolves right with it.
Face it, the “context aware” computing is gaining ground. Check out Chip Chick Helena Stone’s post, “4 Context-Aware Computing Technologies from Intel That Will Shape the Future.” In her post, Helena quotes Genevieve Bell, director of Intel’s Interaction and Experience Research Group, context-aware computing, who defines context aware as “technologies that are able to determine how you feel, who you’re friends with and what your preferences are to better deliver personalized information.”
Sounds a lot like what Pandora and Groupon are doing, and countless other companies wanting to connect with consumers via “personalized” content. Humanity’s digital footprint is now measured in Zetabytes, as TechClicker points out, “That’s 200 Gigabytes for each person on the planet,” and not everyone is on the internet yet. This number is expected to grow to 35 Zetabytes by 2020, or 6 Terabytes per person (not adjusting for population growth).
As devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets incorporate technology that is context-aware, the more aware the web will be of each of us, and that means a ton of data being stored about us all over the world. Big brother-ish? Maybe… but it’s by our own doing.
So the question is…do you want our technology to be more context-aware?