The blog of future think design consultancy PSFK interviewed me by email.
In the interview I talk about the book (of course) and ThingM's upcoming products. I also took the opportunity to think about how I've noticed the trend of services that provide data streams, rather than just units of data:
I think that there’s a really interesting trend in opening up data sources. Pachube works as a free data stream brokerage that sits on top of TCP/IP and HTTP to provide a kind of semantic resource location technology for small net-enabled devices that has been missing. This kind of data openness is being matched by things such as the US Governement’s open data initiative at data.gov.
The trend I see here is a combination of openly sharing data sources and streams and creating business models around making technology layers that make those data streams meaningful and valuable. Both Pachube and data.gov are a kind of search engine for data streams, rather than documents, which I think is a very powerful concept.
This is definitely related to the discussions around syndication that have been going on for years (since the launch of RSS), to micro-content, and to various services that add structured semantic information to Web-accessible data. However, I think what we're seeing now goes beyond those largely abstract discussions to create a more pragmatic understanding of what it means to create meaningful sources of data, rather than just meaningful units of data.
It means, as my last sentence implies, that there are enough data sources--whether it's sensor data automatically collected, organized and tagged by Pachube or the human-created sources of data presented by data.gov--that we can start having search services for such data. The conversation becomes again about "wrangling" information shadows, as I discussed in my NASIG keynote two years ago.
In that discussion I talked about how journal subscriptions--which are a kind of knowledge white hole, wellsprings of specific kinds of information--represent a model for how information shadows can be organized and managed in the future. Well, it looks like we may be closer to that, and that the wrangling may be a combination of automated tagging and human curation.
Does this mean that Google will soon be automatically cataloging data streams? I'd be surprised if they're not already.