Sramana Mitra: Does that necessarily need to change? You do have a proxy and the kind of streaming economy you are talking about, which is working just fine on a CPC/CPN basis.
One thing I have observed is that if too many things need to change for your vision to become a reality, then the likelihood of that reality coming about is low. What I am observing is that there is no requirement for the ad system to change for a streaming economy to work. Also, it does not necessarily require the search economy to change, either, because we don’t only search for things that we look at all the time. We also search for things we don’t look at all the time and that we do not subscribe to. If I am looking for a yak wool blanket, I don’t subscribe to that, it is something I am going to search for.
Khris Loux: I think there is a yes to both of those things. They are correct viewpoints. Much of the streaming data is private. What I mean by that is Twitter owns the data and they do not have to let Google crawl it. And they don’t, by the way. Facebook is private in the sense that they do not let the search engines crawl it. You can’t index Facebook – they will block the crawler and not let them. So Google – or the search economy – is becoming increasingly blind to increasing amounts of data. There are vast amounts of data on Facebook you cannot search for, unless you use Facebook. I can go to the Facebook search box and search for something, but that is a colloquial view, an introspective view into Facebook.
Photo by photo or status update by status update, Google is being eliminated from the next version of this web. That would be something we would have to put into your calculations. There are certain things I subscribe to because I know of them and I want them all the time. I might not subscribe to the blender because I want to search for a good blender, find it, and then stop thinking about blenders for a while. What Facebook and Twitter have is a notion of your social graph. Facebook would provide you with a search for blenders within the context of your social graph. One of your friends, for example, bought a blender two months ago and now you would like to know about that blender and find it. Facebook not only has the data, but also the context. They have personally relevant context.
SM: They can personalize it better.
KL: That is right. The point that you and I have collectively established are the massive challenges the search engines are going to have to struggle with if they are going to rework themselves into the streaming economy.
SM: Let’s switch gears. Given that viewpoint, talk to me about open problems. These are problems you would encourage entrepreneurs to look into as opportunities to build new companies on.
KL: I think at this point the opportunity is a “Wild West.” It is the very beginning of what will be a ten-year process of rebuilding and reinventing the web into the streaming economy. There are enormous opportunities for companies to get started with collecting streaming data, process streaming information, and providing interesting visuals and experiences on top of that information. All of the applications you might consider for the web can be re-imagined in this real-time web. We, for example, have a whole host of companies that build on top of our product, which is called stream server. They build applications that are for the next generation of the web. As I mentioned before, we have live Q&A, chatter apps, real-time forums, pin boards, and real-time photo galleries. And there are dozens of more opportunities like that to be innovators in the time of this new web. The sky is the limit.