It Pays to be Aware

Who has time to keep an eye on all their key competitors, customers and market trends? As a technical director in a scientific instruments company, I was amazed at how business intelligence often depended on gossip at trade shows and conventions or around the water cooler, delayed and distorted like a variation on that old children's game, the Chinese Telegraph.

“There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.”—Doug Larson

Your time is valuable, and so is your staff's, so most companies seemingly can't afford to regularly monitor the web sites of their competitors, the comments of their customers, or the trends developing in their marketplace—but can you really afford not to?

From Search to Discovery

Tools like Google help us to search, but what about discovery? It's easy to search for a business or type of business you have in mind, but how best to discover related businesses, or even what those relations might be? Search focuses within the context, whereas discovery expands the context. Search confirms, discovery surprises.

Mining the Deep Web

"Searching on the Internet today can be compared to dragging a net across the surface of the ocean", said Michael Bergman in a study back in 2000.

Nearly a decade later, some estimates show that up to 500 times more online information remains hidden below the shallow nets cast by the general search engines. There's a wealth of information that is deep and therefore missed, unless you know how to go after it.

What are these information resources?

Searching Smarter

There's a lot of chatter these days about making online search easier, friendlier, serving more of the public in more ways.

For example:

  • natural language search, where we'll just type (or speak) in plain language
  • using prior search, adjusting future results to more closely reflect our past selections
  • social search, where the preferences of our network of friends will influence our results
  • emphasis on optimizing the very first search result since that's the one we'll want to click
  • and so on...

That's all fine, but do we see an underlying assumption emerging? 

Perhaps a problem (and an opportunity) in disguise?

Welcome to the Aware Research Blog

After several years as a vision and over two years of concentrated software and infrastructure development—we're now live!

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