Browsing. Searching. Recommending.

Yesterday I tweeted a little prediction about the coming decade.

(I also posted it on Hacker News and a good discussion followed.)

This got me thinking about the web and what is the default action taken by most people on the web. The thing people do when they’re on the web. Of course people do many things on the net but there’s one activity that’s sort of the main task and this activity has changed over the lifetime of the web. The company that best provides the platform for this activity is the company that defines the web at the time.

I think you can simplify things a bit by saying that during the first few years of the web the main activity was browsing then it became searching and now we’re moving in to a web where what you do is recommending stuff to other people (or follow other people’s recommendations).

The era of browsing was the era of the portals and the browsers. The start page of the browser was the place to be. Netscape was first out but it was Microsoft (followed by Yahoo!) that ended up the winner by becoming the default platform where people did the browsing.

Then of course Google entered the stage and before you knew it we stopped browsing the web and started googling it – search was king.

I think we’re currently on the brink of the next phase: recommendation. This is the era of retweets, mobile social gaming and reputation systems. That’s why I think Facebook is in the best position to become the defining company on the web the coming decade. The entire web will become a reputation system and at the core of this is the successor to the Google Pagerank – the Peoplerank. To do this well you need the social graph that Facebook controls.

Of course we will still be both browsing and searching but the main activity will be recommending or be recommended stuff. We will walk around in a recommendation cloud bombarding us with information that people we trust think we should know about.

Perhaps I’m wrong about Facebook becoming the web leader this decade but I got a feeling the next phase of the web is recommending. The PeopleRank will come. Be ready.

You can recommend this blog post by tweeting about it.


One Comment on “Browsing. Searching. Recommending.”

  1. frick says:

    Totally agree. Personal recommendations is the shit. That’s also what we thought when we started the recommendation engine inSuggest back in 2007. Now we are thinking about how to proceed with the engine (including the site http://www.insuggest.com ). But regardless that, recommendations as a concept is for sure the key to a successful future online.


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