Friday, February 06, 2009


When I am trying to figure out a particularly difficult question, I reflexively think about how to formulate Google queries. But how would you formulate a Google query for a question like this one?
What the resteraunt that has peacocks walking around on the lawn. It's near downtown in a old mansion type building?
That question came from someone I follow on Twitter. I supposed he could have Googled for "austin restaurant peacocks" and sifted through the results. Instead, he tweeted it. And within five minutes, he had the answer ten times over.

This incident is a nice example of how crowdsourcing can provide an alternative to search engines, or more accurately, how the ongoing differentiation of our online space can lead to the development of different information niches.

You can also see why relating status messages to geolocation can open up new possibilities for archiving and extracting this sort of local knowledge for such questions. Yet another reason why Google might be interested in that application space.


jonstone said...

cool post--I was thinking about it hours later when it dawned on me that the twitter search would yield more authentic data--data gathered directly from "the people" and not from commercial sites who have paid to get high on the google search return.
-jon stone [UIUC writing studies grad student]

Clay Spinuzzi said...

Right - this is actually something that Dave Evans nails pretty well in his book on social media marketing. People trust their friends' judgment.