Jim Morris's Thought of the Week (or month, or year, ...)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
Every news outlet behaves as if its readers read it exclusively. Each day the New York Times writes the next installment of a continuing story where its last one ended the day before. Don’t they know I’ve been getting hourly updates on the story? My biggest problem as a news junky is avoiding getting the same information repeatedly. Information retrieval experts like Jaime Carbonell noticed long ago that repetition is a problem. They compute similarity scores for all the items retrieved for a particular query and eliminate items that are too much like another one. Many services, like Digg and del.icio.us, attempt to select web information to help us find what we want. I would like one that keeps track of everything I’ve seen and shows me just things that are new. The gold standard for such a service is the Presidential Daily Brief; in which an entire staff of White House people creates a special little “newspaper” for the President, based on what they think he knows already.Surely, a service like Google News could do this. It already clusters news stories for similarity. If it maintained a giant cookie that recorded all the news stories I’d looked at, it could offer me fresh information by eliminating things that were too similar to what I’d read. Get on it, Google!
posted by Jim Morris @ 2:36 PM