There’s been a lot of buzz recently surrounding the “Implicit Web” concept, something I’ve blogged about in the past.
ReadWriteWeb has a great write-up on the subject, with case studies focusing on several popular websites that incorporate implicit data collection techniques (Last.fm, etc.).
Even more interesting is a “live attention-stream” viewer created by Stan James of Lijit. This neat little webapp utilizes clickstream data gathered by the Cluztr social browsing plugin, allowing Internet users to “follow along” with another user’s web browsing session.
This and other recent work on leveraging implicit data-flows is pretty exciting stuff, and we’re really only starting to scratch the surface as to what’s possible.
I’ve been toying around with implicit data gathering techniques for the last six months or so, using my company’s AlchemyPoint platform to gain access to clickstreams and other information. Because the AlchemyPoint system operates as a transparent proxy-server, it makes it easy to build simple analysis/data-mining applications that “jack in” to web browsing, email, and instant messaging activity.
So what’s possible if you’re “jacked in”? Let’s start with something very basic: gathering statistics on the usage of various web sites.
Above is a snippit from something I’ve been calling a dash-up. So what’s a dash-up?
Think dashboard + mash-up.
Essentially, a dash-up is a presentation-level mashup that collects data from multiple sources and presents it in a useful graphical dashboard view (in this case, dynamically updating activity charts). The above screenshot is showing both a general web traffic history, and more detailed statistics on my music-listening activity on the popular Internet Radio web site, Pandora.com.
OK, statistics-gathering is kinda neat, but what about something more useful? One of my favorites is passive tagging or implicit blogging activity. Stay tuned for my next post, which will detail some of the ways passive/implicit data collection enhances (through filtering, tagging, etc.) the Internet sites I use on a daily basis.