The data in the right-now you-web

We are talking about the you-web for a year now. Check out this presentation for instance. I was reading the words of the CEO by Larry Page of Google and I found it striking how this concept seems to take a central role in Googles strategy. It is also highly related to the importance of the concept of right-now in services I described earlier on Fastmovingtargets (Dutch).

But first the Google angle. I think the words of Page got a lot of buzz for the way they are putting the content on the result pages instead of the result pages. Which is definitely a sign of a strategic shift. Together with other developments like in Youtube, Google seems to put more focus on becoming a content platform. The danger is of course that they can lose the trust factor that you find the best sources for your question because it is biased by their own source (that does not have to be the best of course).

But that said, I think the way Page focuses on creating personal relevant experiences is more interesting. With the total connection of all instances of the Google profile by connecting all services to one profile, Google will have definitely the most information on all of us in searching and browsing behavior. Facebook will have some more on relations but if Google wants they should be able to filter that from e-mails etc. The way he talks on mobile is typical too. He praises the possibilities of seamlessly adapting the mobile experience to the device. Will be connected soon to the one user of course.

Interesting how Google wants to find out the real world connections and bring them into their platform. And this links with the right now. That is about the instant and the you.
Different aspects are important and driving the developments. The access economy is becoming a fact of life in some high profiled categories like cars (Greenwheels, Car2go, Snappcar, etc.) and music (Spotify). But it is broader than these kind of new aspects of business change. It is all based on a root of new behavior. I made some notes on the right-now development before and the way notification platforms are important.

The right-now approach can directly linked to the you-web. You can have right-now services without a personal experience. Let’s call them ad hoc, but it is much more likely that a right-now interaction delivers also a hyper personal service. A service or product that fits the wishes of the moment of use, especially your moments of use.

Directly linked is the data and profiles. As Google opened up the exchange of data between their services a lot more of data traces will be connected to you in order to make the personal experience possible. Here it is interesting to see if we will develop some data literacy. Will we be bold enough to demand more control, and at least more transparency on the data traces? This could be triggered as the use of data will have more impact.

Data will become ubiquitous to create flow this year. And we will see some major events that will trigger positive and negative in data as influencer. You can expect the first dirty campaigns via social in the US elections later this year for instance. And even models to steer the voting could be possible.
Obama’s social campaign of 2008 is the ultimate case for social campaigning until now. It was mostly based on activating voters and positive engagement. With success. What to expect now, four years later? Just like wars are triggering innovation you can expect these elections be pivoting in the way persuasive communication is introduced. You can expect a bot strategy, with weavrs kind of elements that will try to interfere with our perceptions. That will be smart in manipulating the hype driven journalists and will use social crowdcontrol to create voter control.
The elections will not only boost the big data mining and social roboting, but also drive social gamifying.

And just today we see another trigger for thinking on our data; the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook. The consequences for the service can be debated, I go with this take on it: the service is more likely to stay the way it is to keep the users happy, than that it will be ruined by Facebook. On the other hand, you will have to manage your settings even more if you don’t like the idea it contributes to the profiles of Facebook.

I’m not a pessimist by nature and also in these developments I see the value of the drivers of new technologies. We definitely need a societal approach where we learn and request transparency. The development of more and more ad hoc personal shaped products will be inevitable. With the gathered insights from data hick-ups, I hope we grow into more literacy to prevail a backlash in the you-web. I hope it will generate a context for companies to differentiate in transparency as product asset.

UpdateAnd now I just hear about a new app called Placeme that does exactly the things you need for the you web collecting the constant stream of data of your context in all forms and give meaning to it. This whole trend of ambient services is of course at the beginning and booming, like we had the buzz of Highlight after SxSW. The extra angle of Placeme is the way it creates data as a tool for other services to build on.

And the other aspect is important too: how sincerely honest the guy of Placeme talks on the privacy and encryptions of the data, it is the main topic of discussion that raises with the app. I think the competitor that creates the same app where you store your own data and add tools so you can use the data yourself for personalized services with ease of use, will have a great opportunity. This happens one of the projects we are running within /Labs not coincidently…

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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