by Stuart Ridgway, Original Music for Film and Television

Greetings.  This article is Part 2 in a series of four articles about the Web 2.0 Summit 2009.  Make sure you read Part 1 first.

Right Now

Is it any surprise with instant access to bits of information around the globe that we want more and more of the same?  I have many of the iPhone apps that I need to get what I want when I want it.  But, that implies I know what I’m going to want the next time I turn on my phone.  What if I want something new and I want it fresh and relevant?  That’s where crowdsourced search comes in.

One of my favorite presentations was from Mark Drummond, CEO of  Wowd.  Wowd lets you discover what’s popular on the Internet right now.  In the old days (last week) search results that depended on linking were similar to fossil records of the web:  there were no references for measuring how relevant a link was.  Now, freshness can be measured by how many times a page is actually visited.  As users discover which ones meet their needs and which ones don’t, a page’s rank changes.  As a result, your Wowd search results provide you with links to pages that are relevant now.

Not to be outdone, both Google and Bing announced agreements with Twitter.  The two behemoths will new be displaying links to public Twitter feeds in their search results.  Searching for a nearby coffee house?  Find out if Lance Armstrong is still there finishing up his cappuccino.

Walter Scott, Founder and CTO of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery gave us another view of the importance of right now technology.  After hurricane Katrina, relief workers were using Google maps to get routing directions.  In one case, the satellite image relief workers used directed them to the I-90 bridge.  Little did they know that the bridge had actually been destroyed.

The trick is, of course, to keep those images up to date.   Typically, DigitalGlobe is able refresh its imagery every three to six months.  However, they also use crowdsourcing to determine which areas to refresh more frequently.  Using input from their customers, DigitalGlobe can identify the places in the world that are changing the fastest and are the most interesting.  They can then revisit a site daily if updates to the imagery are needed.

They are providing this imagery to Google, Bing, OVI et al.  But they’re also opening up their imagery for users to create mash-ups.  The results could be incredible.

Another spin on right now technology is the handheld ultrasound machine that GE CEO Jeff Immelt unveiled.  He called it the “stethoscope of the 21st century” because primary care doctors will be able to use it instead of sending patients to get an ultrasound at a specialist’s office.  Doctors in remote regions without access to hospital equipment will also be able use it.  Currently, it does not have Wi-Fi access to wirelessly transmit ultrasound images.  Nevertheless, getting right now images of patient’s organs or of a fetus is no longer constrained by location.

Get a Web 2.0 reality check in Part 3.

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