Archive for April, 2006

Voice 1, 2, 3…

April 27, 2006

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I blogged in the past about how Web2.0, which pretends to be the incarnation of the personal, social, human, interactive web, is lacking the most fundamental human protocol – Voice. I'm not talking about Voice as an application – Skype, or Gtalk, but rather about voice as a mean for communication – with people, humanoids and applications alike.

Well, Yahoo!, so it seems, is going this way (and Google is undoubtedly going there just the same). Jeff Bonforte, Senior Director of Voice Product Management at Yahoo!, described Yahoo!'s take on Voice 1, 2 and 3:

Voice 1 – the hundred years old, boring yet highly successful (business-wise) dial tone.

Voice 2 – Voice as an application: Skype, Messanger. Voice is Data.

Voice 3 – Voice as an invocation protocol – an interface to Yahoo!'s vast amount of content.

Rest the never ending problem of voice recognition. And here Bonforte describes a brilliant bypass to the problem: instead of trying to figure out what the speaker really said, Yahoo! sends the transcription to… their search engine. The search engine returns the "Did you mean: ___" which is the outcome of a machine-learning, based on the next thing users are searching (when users are mistyping their search query, the next thing they usually do is to re-type the correct string). So just like the search engine is "learning" over time what is a real search string and what is most probably a typo, the voice recognition engine will learn what a meaningful interaction is and what is not.

These voice advancements are highly symbolic. They represent a change in the current Browser paradigm, and they are the first steps toward a physical integration of human beings into the World Wide Web, an inevitable outcome of the technology that shapes up our lives.

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podcastIcon1.gifYahoo! and Emerging Telephony 00:19:38, 9 mb, Jan 25th, 2006

Original Podlink: Yahoo! and Emerging Telephony

technorati1.jpg Technorati Voice Telephony, Technorati the Podlink

The Browser As a Platform

April 27, 2006

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I was listening to Phil Windley's AJAX Progress and Challenges when the bells rang. While describing the JavaScript programming that is taking place inside the Browser's guts, Windley pointed out that browser-based client applications have become O/S indifferent. Operating systems have been finally abstracted out from the entire transaction chain.
And then the inevitable metaphor of the Browser-as-a-Platform was mentioned, triggering a bunch of thoughts in my head on the Browser-as-a-platform interfacing the Internet-as-Platform, and how RSS is disrupting these two platform metaphors. But to get more details on that, you'd have to jump over to my alter-blog and continue reading over there.

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podcastIcon1.gif AJAX Progress and Challenges 00:50:27, 23.1 mb, March 1st 2006

Original Podlink: AJAX Progress and Challenges

technorati1.jpg Technorati Ajax, Technorati the Podlink

Identity2.0 Illusion of Control

April 2, 2006

Seeing and hearing Dick Hardt's "600-mouse-clicks in 12 minutes" presentation is a must: it is the most formidable elevator pitch I have ever seen.

So what's Identity 2.0? Is it indeed a radically different approach to identity as its suffix suggests, or is it the same old stuff rebranded in the spirit of the current Zeitgeist?

If you ask Dick Hardt he will tell you two things:

1. Identity 2.0 is all about empowering the user. A user-centric model in which the user defines and controls his/her Identity.

2. What is Identity? Identity is "The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known". In this context, Hardt talks much about Personas (assertions about MY Identity), as well as about Reputation – assertions that others are making about (aspects of) who I am. An example for that would be the eBAY reputation of a seller.

I think the two points mentioned are problematic.

First is the illusion of control. The User is not in a real control of what her Identity is. The different Identity Providers – Government, Universities, Work places and so forth – provide assertions about me that I cannot control nor alter. But at least, these are Objective and factual assertions. With Reputations, though, we're entering the realm of the subjective, with assertions that might be biased, inaccurate and sometimes false. Objective or Subjective – it does not really change the fact that People are not in control of their Public Identity!Differently put, Identity 2.0 is probably about controlling the How (distribution, interaction etc.), rather than controlling the What (Who am I).

This leads me to the second problem, which relates to implicit assertions. This kind of assertions is not an explicit part of the Identity2.0 discussion. I am referring here to what can be induced from the data and the meta-data (clickstreams, gestures, attention or whatever) the user is generating inside the various service providers. My mails at Gmail, my docs at Writely, my photos at Flickr and so forth, say a lot of things about ME and are, therefore, essential components of MY Identity. If Identity 2.0 is all about giving ME the ability to control MY Identity, then Data and Meta-Data MUST be part of the design goals of Identity 2.0, for unlike Personas and Reputation – Data and Meta-Data are controllable. Unfortunately,though, I couldn't find any trace to these critical aspects of Identity in the 7 laws of Identity, nor in the 14 design goals of Identity 2.0.

Dick Hardt – See and listen – it's only 16 minutes.

 

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See and Listen: Identity 2.0, OSCON 2005

Just Listen: Dick Hardt – Identity 2.0

Original Podlink: IT Conversations, Dick Hardt, Identity 2.0

References:

Dick Hardt: Identity=Reputation

Dick Hardt: Identity 2.0 Design Goals

Kim Cameon: The Seven Laws of Identity

technorati1.jpg Technorati Identity 2.0, Technorati the Podlink