It’s ok to admit it. As useful, fun, and informative as the web is in revolutionizing the way we communicate, work, learn and relax, it’s all quite overwhelming. How many of us visit over 10 different sites every day, not including those which we visit every few days, or simply occasionally? How much time passes as we try to see what we might have missed, even overnight, or perhaps for just a few hours? List of web “things to do”: 1. Check the local, national and world news. 2. Let’s read about last’s night game, and what the different bloggers have to say about it. 3. I heard about a really cool new netbook – what do the reviews have to say? 4. Email. 5. Facebook. 6. Twitter. 7. Crucial stock market developments…the list goes on and on. As the Internet continues to change the way we live our lives, from following friends on what seems to be an endlessly increasing number of social networks, to being able to search in real time for almost any information on Google, Yahoo or Bing, software developers, desktop application providers and mobile operators need to think about ways to ‘organize’ and personalize our web experience. The personalization of the web is not new. With a growing list of RSS readers, customized home pages, and software that helps better coordinate various social networks to be a lot easier to keep up with, the process is clearly in motion. Behavioral targeting – both in real-time search, targeted advertising and more – appears poised to become one of the most influential web trends in 2010. As the average Internet user – not just the technology geek – becomes more familiar with RSS feeds, online news blogs, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter continue to grow at lightning speed, they too will soon demand programs that will act as a “personal assistant” in helping them sift through the “mess” of all their communication and information channels. We even may see the development of enterprise-focused applications as well that will actually cause bosses to encourage their employees to use the Internet, and to allow their key information (important litigation news for lawyers, stock news for financial advisors, etc.) and business development networking tools up-to-date and well organized. Providers of personalization programs, however, must meet a few key demands for the average Internet user to buy into the program and trust the process. Privacy and security remain the primary concerns among respondents to studies on the subject, and developers must find a way to balance ‘studying’ Internet behavioral data without compromising on the clear limits to web confidentiality and the safety of important bit of information. Secondly, with time and simplicity being of the essence, personalization tools must be as accurate, but as user-friendly as possible. Personalization should be stressed over customization – the user should not have to spend time adjusting settings, and practically setting their own preferences, but rather as personalization tools continue to develop, they should become almost a mirror image of the users preferred content. Third, the personalization tools should be as comprehensive as possible. As the technology develops, we should see emails, video and audio content, additional social networks, and more be part of the all-encompassing personalization platforms, in addition to already existing RSS readers and personalized homepages aggregating news sites. And finally, as with all technologies on the web, a viable revenue model must be developed to allow the technology to be financially self-sustaining. Targeted advertising being just one example, personalization program must adapt quickly to keep itself going. Overall though, one thing does seem abundantly clear – that with the web only getting bigger, we need ways to make it more approachable. Privacy, Accuracy and Simplicity will hopefully be the key elements that will guide the technology forward in the year ahead.
Posted in: blog ItemPublished: December 16, 2009