organized search

Today’s Indian Express carried an article about Kosmix, another search engine but with a revolutionary new idea. We all know that Google has become synonymous to web search that we often call it as googling. May be that verb should get added to the dictionaries.

But, as the article rightly points out, the outcome of a Google search is nothing but a list of blue links, sorted by its PageRank mechanism. Thus, what we see as the result is just the top scoring web pages and not a mixture of relevant and different types of information. The reason is still most top web search engines consider the web to be made of pages, which is not entirely true.

Though we still access a web page to see a content or in original terms the information, the information is not just a bunch of text. And even information as a bunch of text is not of the same type. In this web2.0 era, information is not just in web pages, it is in blogs, it is in Orkut and Facebook profiles and groups, it is in microblogging especially tweets, it is in images posted in Flickr and lot other places, it is in discussion forums, it is in Youtube and other video sharing sites, it is in iTunes and other music sharing sites, and a hell lot of other places and in a hell lot of formats.

For example, when we are searching about a person we just do not want to know his home page and wherever his name is mentioned. We might want to know his personal information, we might want to know his Facebook profile, we might want to know his digital albums, we might want to know the music he hears to or uploads, we might want to know the video he has just uploaded or a video about him or presented by him, we might want to know his last tweet, we might want to know lot of other things. Just giving them as a list of blue links in a page doesn’t help people anymore.

The search results need to be organized and categorized so that the audience can get a big screen picture and not the boring links to click one after another in an endeavor to find the information that one wants. This is what Kosmix tries to do. It organizes the information into news, video, books, blogs, tweets, photos…

For example, search for Manmohan Singh gives me the wiki article about him, videos of him and about him, links for information pertaining to him, images of him, discussion about him, questions asked about him,  news and blogs, and all you want to know about him neatly organized.

As the article mentions in the end, it is now upto Google, Yahoo and other search engine beasts to wake up and take the web search to the next era. We are sick of blue links..

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PyCon India 2009 Discussion #1

DateTime: 03 Mar 2009 9.00 PM (+5.30 UTC)

Location: #bangpypers at irc.freenode.net

The first IRC discussion for the PyCon India proposal happened in BangPyper’s IRC Channel. A large number of Pythonistas participated in the discussion and contributed invaluable ideas, suggestions and concerns during the course of the meeting. To our own surprise, the channel recorded it’s highest ever head count even before the officially announced timings. A quick summary of the topics and points raised during the meeting is as follows,

What?

The important topic of discussion was the theme for the PyCon India. People shared their views on what they wanted PyCon India to be.

  • A few people also raised concerns about using the name PyCon, as the name carries a huge value among the international community and any attempts to even make a localized version of it should stand up to the same quality.
  • The target audience for the conference was also discussed. Most people felt that the need for catering to newbies can not be neglected, but at the same time it’s should not just be a beginner level event as well. The conclusion was more on the lines of addressing the interests of already existing python programmers, let them be beginners, novices or seasoned hackers.
  • There was also a stress on giving importance to Indian speakers as this being an Indian version of the PyCon
  • The rationale behind the conference is to encourage Python and to display how PUGs help to spread Python within India (quoting Ramakrishna Reddy).
  • Baiju suggested having each day of the 3 day conference for one type of audience, the first day catering to beginners with tutorials, workshops and beginner talks; the second day filled with developer talks for audience who are already working full time with Python, and the third day being a code sprint.
  • The next main topic getting discussed was whether to have one talk after another or to have parallel talks running at same time.
  • There was also suggestions to have separate tracks for Python for web, system programming and for developing desktop applications.

When?

While it was unanimously decided to have the PyCon India during the first half of September, a majority vote went to 3rd, 4th and 5th of September leaving out the Sunday for people to get back to their real life. This now becomes the tentative dates for PyCon India, to start with looking up for venues on these days. Depending upon further developments happening on other related fronts, the date will get finalized.

Where?

Again it was unanimously decided to have it this time in Bangalore. Future PyCon(s) might happen in other cities, but the first one is surely to happen in Bangalore considering the fact that BangPypers is leading the effort, as well as concentration of organizing Pythonistas seem to be maximum in Bangalore comparatively (agreed, this is debatable on other fronts).

How?

The later half of the discussion was taken up by what are the things to be done to move forward. It was decided to have a formal CFP being made soon, as well as having an Open Review process for the submitted proposals using the software used for PyCon. Ghose B has been put responsible for getting the software in place, while Svaksha and Ramdas share the responsibility of Media and Publicity.

Other points which popped out during the discussion are,

  • Whether to have stalls? If so who all can be given a stall?
  • Whether to have delegate fees? If so, what would be the ideal fee?
  • Corporate presence during the conference

As this was the first ever discussion on the idea of having PyCon India, no conclusive decisions were taken other than few stances. Each of the above discussed topic will be subjected to further iterative discussions as things mature and progress further.

The next meet of IRC discussion is currently to happen at #bangpypers in irc.freenode.net on 10th March 2009, 8.230 PM IST. If you want to participate in the discussions, please be there. We are open to all kinds of ideas, suggestions, concerns and criticisms. Please feel free to poke us at #bangpypers anytime or drop a mail to BangPypers mailing list.

Even if you are not a Pythonista, please help us by spreading the word among your friends, colleagues, your HR and your company. Some of them might be really interested at some aspect of this conference.