The Things I Care About

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

One of the important distinctions that we often have to make for Touchstone is that a personal relevancy engine is very different to a recommendation engine. It does forma part of the puzzle, but we feel that there is enough recommendation engines out there, but not enough engines which filter down the noise, based on many of the same principals.

Let me share a brief story with you:

Touchstone shares its office with another development team (a start-up doing other…stuff). We all get along very well and the teams work play nicely together. Today I started conversation based on an alert I got from Touchstone. During the conversation (about a possible cure for AIDS) someone asked:

“Where do you get all your medical news? Because I’ve got my Tech news covered, but I am interested in Medical Science, but don’t ever get exposed to it.”.

And I honestly had no idea.

I had no clue, because it was actually Touchstone that told me, and like many other’s when Touchstone is doing its job (which is infrequently because I am always running the least stable and most experimental version available) I couldn’t care less about the “source”. I don’t feel I NEED to know. I replied “I don’t know, umm, prolly Reuters?”

This got me thinking. Does the source matter? How and more importantly should Touchstone suggest new sources of information to you over time? Where does Touchstone stop being a personal relevancy engine and start being a personal recommendation system? Should it start tracking new sources with or without your permission?

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