Sunday, November 6, 2011

Google does not own the web: Search vs. Discovery

What?! Google does not own the web? Oh, thank goodness. For a minute there I heard, "Gee, Google, what do you want to do tonight?... try to take over the web!" Look out Brain, search on the web is changing.

I personally find Google search results are a thick muddy bog to be slogged through before I reach something useful, with so many spam sites to be sifted through, having to carefully pick and choose by looking at the design and content, clipart, flashing banner ads and user comments. It's just too much.
There is too much information online, too many pages filled with stock images and no context. Search engines provide significant utility, but we still have to exert energy to find what we need after results are algorithmically surfaced. The new crop of social media companies help discovery come online and threaten traditional search. With these new tools, users are able to clip and collect the bits of the web that they are most interested in and, in the process, disregard the rest as noise. The Shift from Search to Discovery
Pinterest is one of those social media companies. It's been picking up steam in the mainstream lately. There are several reasons Pinterest is on a rise, including that it's a beautiful and brilliant way of cataloging your ideas and tastes, based on a "recommendation" of sorts.

What is Pinterest?
Pinterest provides a way to make your favorite things easy for friends and followers to navigate. And similarly it’s like walking into a virtual tapestry of people’s favorite things. It's a way to discover what you love. And, you can organize the "bookmarks" in the ways that make sense to you.

When you find something on the web while browsing, you "pin" it or save it to your profile. You look at the collection of images others have found and "repin" to one of your boards, or best yet, use one of your own original photos. You follow others after perusing their collection to see if it fits your tastes and interest, and they follow you based on your pins and activity.

I like it because it's visually appealing. You are exposed to images and ideas you would never have found on your own. The discovery is so stimulating and rewarding. When I find an image (which is usually linked back to the original website) I can "repin" it to a "board" like a scrapbook or cork board of things I love or find interesting.

It's full of positive reinforcement and validation. Followers can "like" your pin, comment, or repin.

My daughter said it makes her feel smart and creative. "I think I like Pinterest because it makes me feel like I too could do awesome stuff, but then I don't actually have to do it." Or, " I should probably ease up on Pinterest...but it's so fun!"

There are fun crafts, great places to visit, fashion, amazing art and things that will make you smile. Oh, and great recipes and food..."I shouldn't browse Pinterest when I'm hungry," my daughter told her Facebook friends.

It's something you talk your friends and family into joining so you can share cool new things with them. My daughter's friend posted "Your pinboard on things that make you smile totally made my evening :)

It's helped get me out of a rut with my cooking with this pin (and others).

I made this quinoa dish...yum!

A rocket ride
But it's a love/hate relationship, right now, with Pinterest. It's "beta-ish" (my daughter quips) and requires an invitation to join. The iPhone app is buggy, crashing often; the app icon disappears and reappears on my phone; it freezes or comes up with gray squares or blank pages. Not sure this company is technically ready for activity and growth. But I'm willing to be patient.

While I'm enjoying my feast for the eyes on Pinterest you can slog through the Google results of what everyone else is saying about Pinterest. Poit!


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