Home Personalized Clustering: It’s too hard, say developers

Personalized Clustering: It’s too hard, say developers

After my post about
Personalized Megite, I got taken to task by both Gabe Rivera from Memeorandum and Nik Cubrilovic from OmniDrive – two developers who have had a lot of
experience trying to develop such systems. As Gabe wrote in
Scoble’s comments

“I agree with Nik that there’s a huge technical chasm to cross before a
“personalized meme tracker” gets really useful. I think progress I make on
the memeorandum engine is approaching that, but it’s still far off enough that
I’ll pass on hyping it for now.”

Gabe then proceeded to give me an earful in a Skype conversation about the issue 😉 I
was also interested to read Greg Linden‘s
thoughts on the matter, as he is another very smart developer with experience in this
domain. Actually Greg
seemed to like
my suggestion of introducing clustering to Findory, which would definitely get me using it

Because let’s face it, Personalization + Clustering is the next big step in RSS. If
2005 was about Aggregation, then 2006 is all about Filtering.

Nik wrote up his thoughts today, in a post entitled Memetracking
Attempts at Old Issues
. While he mentions lack of link data as being an issue, it
seems to me the crux of the problem is this:

“generating a personal view of the web for each and every person is computationally
expensive and thus does not scale, at all.”

He goes on to say that “this is why you don’t have personalized Google results
– we just don’t have the CPU cycles to care about you.”

So it’s mainly a computational and scaling problem. Damn hardware.

Nevertheless, there is a big demand for
personalized clustering – among the edge cases, it must be said. And Megite and TailRank are both trying to capture that demand, which
to be frank I’m very pleased about. I understand why Gabe and Nik don’t want a bar of it,
but there are lots of squeezed bloggers out there who are desperate for a good RSS
filtering solution. The first web app that solves this, or at least gives me decent
filtered RSS feeds, is going to get my business for sure.

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