A New Dimension?

I feel in my gut that we need a new dimension, a new vector, a new lode to mine.  And I feel that we are close to finding it. 

Note the conscious use of the word we in the last sentence.  I am not close to finding it, but we are.  By we, I mean everyone who is working in technology and web services.

Software and web services have been about functionality for the past thirty years.  They help you organize and process the things you need to do.  At this very moment in time, I have six applications open.  Outlook for email.  Outlook for calendaring.  Outlook for contacts.  Word for writing.  Firefox for browsing.  iTunes for listening.  I could have more, but that’s all that I am doing right now.

Each is an island (or a ghetto as a friend of mine says) of automation with efficiency as the ultimate end goal.  Microsoft largely won the “organize and process” era because they offered the most efficient applications using the DOS/Windows operating system as the foundation for delivering efficiency.

There is progress being made connecting these islands of functionality in the browser.  I can write in Firefox (and oh the pain of a browser crash), I can listen in Firefox, I can do email in Firefox, I can do calendaring in Firefox, and so on and so forth. 

The browser is replacing the OS.  Big deal, we all know that.

But once that happens, then what?

Many have said that search is the new dimension. Google’s success would certainly suggest that they have found the next lode to mine and are doing a damn good job mining it.

But I think search is just one of the vectors and that the new dimension is relevance.

And search isn’t the ultimate in relevance.  In fact, I think search is a very rudimentary way to deliver relevance.

Many readers have said to me, “Fred, why are you making such noise about the cookie thing?”

Because I believe that relevancy is the next dimension and stored user preferences and data are the foundation of delivering it.  Cookies are one of the ways to do that and I think they are a very important part of the next big thing.

But this is about a lot more than cookies.

It’s about understanding how the next 10-20 years are going to play out in technology and web services.

The Gotham Gal was looking for some stuff for the kids yesterday on the Internet.  She is one of the best Internet shoppers I have ever met. She knows all the best tricks of finding what she wants.

But she said to me that the Internet is getting really crowded these days.  There is so much stuff out there.

Information overload?  No, we were overloaded ten years ago.  What we are today has no word for it because we are too busy checking our non stop email deluge to think of one.

We’ve largely solved the “automate and process” problems. 

But we haven’t begun to scratch the surface of the relevancy problem.

So grab your picks and shovels and let’s go mine that lode together.