Information Google is Missing
Most people assume that major search engines like Google and Bing can literally find all of the information on the internet instantly. However, this is not always the case. Researchers at the University of Ireland have discovered a major blind spot in Google’s search algorithm, and have put together some ideas to fix it.
The information that Google is missing, is time sensitive and location specific. It’s information that is relevant to a particular location for a short period of time. A very relatable example of this would be, if there is a local shop advertising a major sale on a must have item, is the item still available? Or did the shop sell out? Another example would be trying to find out if there was still parking available at the main parking lot for a major event. To obtain this information right now your best bet would be to text message a friend that’s already there.
The bad news is, there is really no way Google to index this kind of hyper specific information. However, like your friend, there are many people already at the location who are available to ask. Since most people are now carrying smartphones, we can all connect to create a community of local informants. This is the same model being used in popular mobile apps like Waze Local and Gas Buddy. It’s a feed of information coming from a community of people all connected through the internet and smart phones.
At the University of Ireland, a research team led by Von der Weth has come up with an innovative solution. Rather than a community relying on a passive input of information, what if people could opt in to make themselves available? You allow people to see that you (a member of the community who is not necessarily sharing any personal information) is at a specific location, and people can ask you questions. At first this might seem annoying and invasive. However, I thought about this critically with an open mind, and realized an entire realm of possibilities for incentivizing the sharing information through gamification. When you take it a step further by adding an advertising layer with real world reward based incentives, things really get interesting. An entire eco-system can be created through the exchange of hyper local time sensitive information.
Do you have an idea of how you would fill the search engine blind spot?
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