Friday, January 20, 2006

The AttentionTrust Bandwagon

Reactions to the concept of AttentionTrust appear mixed: ranging from bullshit to confusion.

I like the idea. I've seen it before. The difference between what I saw before and what's out there is all in the message.

* Describe what you are doing
* Share it with other applications
* End user benefits from software being more aware of what is being focused on.

AttentionTrust /
* Record all your interaction with the webbrowser.
* Hock it to a vendor.
* ????
* Profit!

I don't like it in the slightest: the pitch is all wrong, wrong, wrong!

If I were pitching AttentionTrust, I'd do it like this.

The world is a chaotic place, and the world wide web is even more so. We're assaulted with more and more information, we're pestered by irrelevant advertising, and at the end of the day we still have to be productive. RSS, blogging, podcasting, email: all of these things scream out for my attention, each clamouring for more-more-more of my time.

If my instant messaging client flashes one more time when I'm busy, I'll kill someone. If someone asks me "what r u up to" one more time in a poor attempt at human communication, I'll break down into tears.

Instead, I've now got AttentionTrust. It's a plugin for firefox that will help me minimize the day to day issues I face and provide me only with relevant information. I can opt-in to allow the data of whatever it is I am up to as this very second to be collected; and if I so choose, I can give this to a bunch of webservices that will help me work better.

For instance: imagine looking for a book on amazon; and having a service notify me that there's infact a range of cheaper copies of the same book on barnes & noble - productive and helpful.

Imagine my instant messaging client being able to directly share whatever it is I am looking at with a buddy - "help me find out about Africa"; and I make my browsing history available via gaim / jabber - two heads are better than one.

Imagine being able to have a calendar / task planning application that takes into account just how much time I spend googling things.

Imagine having a nagging application that tells me I'm blogging too much and I should get back to work... (Robby, who sits behind me usually fills this function).

I'd like all of those uses. Just don't mention money or spyware!

It's akin to being a pizza oven manufacturer who's comparing their product to a holocaust era, nazi made concentration camp oven: it does not make the reader feel easy about buying your idea if it makes them feel queasy.
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