Better outdoor devices!

Arstechnica is reporting fears of "Internet killing park visits". The article tells us that outdoor activity statistics all over the world is plunging, and that consumption of electronic media is to blame.

I really, really don't think so. Today's immobile situation, with mankind clinging on to their indoor devices that are plugged into the wall, is nothing but a glitch in human history. Instead, with a bit perspective, we will see that it is Internet in combination with super-effective travel (imagine a machine-piloted helicopter that is four times faster than today's choppers, at the cost of a car) that truly will make us even more mobile, spending more time outdoors and in less populated areas.

Of course, as Tim Harford points out in the latest Wired, increased mobility and work/connection possibilities will not mean that all of will move out to the countryside and become IRL eremites. It is more likely that the opposite will happen. But park officers, stay assured that your visitors will come back! It might take a couple of decades, though. In the meantime, let's start by focusing on making a really great outdoorsy mobile device ;)


Social search

I think social search could be... really cool, and most probably one of the necessary layers that Google needs to add to search in order to stay ahead of the game. Marissa Mayer describes social search as:
"We believe social search is any search aided by a social interaction or a social connection… Social search happens every day. When you ask a friend “what movies are good to go see?” or “where should we go to dinner?”, you are doing a verbal social search. You’re trying to leverage that social connection to try and get a piece of information that would be better than what you’d come up with on your own.

We know that because of the volume of searches like this that happen everyday, that the social component of search is actually very important, and it hasn’t translated well yet to the internet medium.

Social search is hard because the intuitive thing you would do online to mirror normal social networks and other social interactions just aren’t that effective, compelling or even reasonable. So, for example, from the Facebook News Feed analogy, you could just get a social network and broadcast all of everyone’s searches to everyone on their social network, but most people view search as a far more private activity than that. They’re not comfortable letting everyone in their social network know what they searched for, so such a product is clearly not reasonable."

This comes from an extensive and must-read Q&A with Marissa that was published yesterday on Venturebeat, at roughly the same time as Google released their awaited Social Graph API. Techcrunch comments on the API too.