In 1998, when Google started, the blogging world was just getting started too, and the two fed on each other. We put knowledge on our blogs, they indexed them. So now we could find each other, and they had stuff worth finding.
In the last corner-turn, as our ideas have moved into silos, Twitter and Facebook, it's harder to create and find value. On Twitter because it's hard to pack much value into a 140-char soundbite, and on Facebook, the focus has been more social than knowledge-building.
But there are still unsolved problems in the open web, areas where Google has built new expertise, that has not yet been applied to the open web.
Google has technology that can tell you who is in a picture and what they're doing. They can organize the photos by all kinds of attributes, time, location, other meaning.
We've been trying to add good categorization to blogs, over the years, and it's impossible to get most people to actually do it, even though we can make good, easy tools. I myself won't use them. I'm too scattered, my time is spread too thin to be able to do all the organizing that I feel I should.
Sometimes I think that's all that lies between me and a good book. The kind of thing that a robot could do for me, I think. And Google I'm pretty sure has that software.
Give me, a writer, tools to study my own writing, and to create new meta-documents that help others find the value. I think we're not very far from having some amazing tools here. There are more writing revolutions to come.
Why should the only social graph belong to Facebook? Why aren't there dozens or hundreds of graphs on the open web, owned by no one? Facebook is just one possible graph. When we're done, there will be lots of graphs.
I have a braintrust, the people I do development with. I'm always looking for people to add to the group, but I'm very selective about it. This will never be a large group.
I have a list of favorite movies. If just ten of my friends had equivalent lists, I would be able to find new ideas for things to watch. Same with podcasts and TV series for binge-watching.
I love to talk NBA. I have lots of friends who are into it, but no place to connect the dots.
Cross-pollination. I often think it would be great to get all my friends in a room so I could introduce them to each other. A structure that just facilitated these intros would make a great UI for a new graph.
These are the kinds of problems made for individual creative people, the kinds of people we enabled with blogging software. But because the leadership turned to silos, we never got to really explore them. This is why it would be a good idea for Google to realize that our interests are aligned, and that they could show some leadership. Would be easy for them.
We have the tools, we know how to structure the data, none of it is far from being realized, we just need leadership. If Google would embrace OPML, for example, or a format like it (attributed hierarchies with inclusion), a lot of new stuff would happen very quickly. We already have lots of tools ready.