Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Fragmented Mobile Information Race
Mobile devices are shifting many individual computing behaviors, perhaps none more significant than how we search for and receive information. Right now, it's moving at warp speed. In between the time I finish this draft and its posted, it's entirely possible another company or service launches in this space. Every time we "swipe open" our mobile devices, we seek out dopamine hits from receiving new emails, texts, notifications, or other bits of digital media.�A good chunk of this current mobile activity revolves around the personalized search and Q&A space, which leverages these behavior in new ways. By now, on traditional computers, we know how to find the information we seek, whether via sites like�Google, Wikipedia, or through social networks. On mobile, however, our information needs and habits shift. On the go, we typically want smaller bits of information quicker, usually calibrated to our location. We are less likely to engage in longer discussion, and more likely to add questions in the hopes that machines, crowds, or some combination can produce relevant information. This shift has opened the floodgates of activity in the personalized search and Q&A space, with an impressive number of new applications vying for user attention in a crowded marketplace.