In the last 18 months, the real-time Web has taken the whole Internet industry by storm with Facebook and Twitter leading the charge. People are now expressing opinions and thoughts, asking questions, discussing and articulating needs in real-time. A very strong ecosystem of tools and sites have risen to help consumers (and businesses) use real-time communications more efficiently and find important information in a sea of real-time noise. Google, following its mission, it has started indexing the real-time content in the search results pages.
A few days ago, I was reflecting on the bigger picture of the real-time Web, trying to understand “what it means” in terms of the evolution of the Web, when I finally put my finger on it.
The real-time Web represents our life as it’s happening! It’s the present.
But what about the past?
The past is represented by Google’s search results.
The search company from Mountain View has basically won the game of making sense of the past. It has made a fortune with the “past” and is now fighting to maintain its relevancy with “present” content.
But if there’s past and present, there must be “future”, no?
If there is, it’s probably the next big frontier on the Web. I’ve found two companies who deal with the “future”. The first is Plancast. The site enables you to share your future plans and events with your friends. It creates an “event page” where your friends can decide if they want to attend or not. They can leave comments.
The second is a startup called Recorded Future. They call themselves “the world’s first temporal analytics engine”. I signed up for one of their “futures” to try the understand what they’re trying to accomplish. If I understand correctly, they index content and structure it around calendar dates. Many newspaper articles for example mention something in the future: “Barack Obama will visit Australia next month” or “Sydney Crosby signed a five-year contract which makes him a Penguins until the 2012-2013 season”. By using that structured data, they can somehow associate things happening at the same time and “predict” the future. This could be really cool.
Looking at the world this way, you’ll soon need to ask yourself: “what does the “future” look like for your company?”