Archive for April, 2009

Autopilot and Social Networking

April 1, 2009

I’m sure that, by now, you’ve all heard about Google’s new Autopilot extension to Gmail, which was announced today.  Obviously, Autopilot represents a major leap forward in conversation technology.  (Yes, yes — CommYou will begin letting users appply Autopilot to conversations, as soon as Google opens up the APIs.)

Let’s talk instead, though, about the potential of this technology for social networking.  Autopilot is doing a good job of easing the burden of conversation, by removing the need to read and reply to your email.  But really, that’s the easy bit.  Nowadays, the really challenging problems are all coming on the social networking side.

So I’m going to propose two products that I think Google should be working on.  (And given how fast the CADIE project is evolving, probably will have finished by tomorrow.)

First up is AutoNetwork.  This would monitor your existing social network, as well as all aspects of your real life, integrating your calendar, your phone calls and your emails to derive a complete picture of who you are and who you know.  (Google already knows all of this anyway, so it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together.)  Then, when you apply AutoNetwork to a given social network, it chooses who you should friend and who not.  It will automatically add friends, decline invitations from people you don’t know *that* well, and unfriend people who you really shouldn’t be talking to.  This will remove the burden of keeping track of your social network, by doing all the heavy lifting for you.  In release 2.0, it will decide which social networks you should be on in the first place.

Second is AutoTweet.  This is simply a logical extension of AutoPilot, aimed at broadcast media.  It will use its advanced heuristics to decide which elements of your life are worth talking about, summarize them, and post them automatically to Twitter.  On the other end, it will keep track of which tweets you’ve responded to in the past (as a measure of what you are interested in), and use that as a basis for filtering which ones from your friends you will see.  After a few days of evolving the heuristics, it will simply provide you with a running commentary of everything interesting that is happening to everyone you know, in realtime, in a convenient 140-character form.

While none of this was announced today, I think it is safe to assume that we’ll be seeing it by — oh, next Monday at the latest.   Given that CADIE already has her own blog and Twitter feed (granted, she needs a couple more days to evolve decent taste), they’re clearly moving in this direction already.

So I figure that, by around next Wednesday, the entire Internet will be taking care of itself, leaving us humans to ignore it and go back to focusing on the real world.  Really, it’s about time…