I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the need for better filters of information. If you're an Information Age junkie like myself, using tools like RSS, social bookmarks, e-mail filters, and any other garden variety of personal information management tools can be overwhelming at times.
The whole point of all this great technology was that it was supposed to allow us to be more liberated from singular sources of information, allowing us to keep in tune with many more sources of information.
And it has.
But boy, can trying to monitor them be exhausting.
So I had suggested in the previous posting there was a very quickly emerging need for such smart information filters and aggregators, whether they be through new businesses or individual tools.
This morning, I read about one such filter in an article on the Financial Times online. Monitor110, scheduled to launch next year, is apparently providing an automated system that will "trawl through more than 40 [million] internet sources -- from blogs to regulator filings -- on behalf of hedge funds."
Check out this page from the Monitor110 site to get an idea of the kind of real-time information hedge funds will be receiving.
What I found most interesting about the story was a quote from the COO for investment research at Citigroup, Scott Lessing, who was quoted as saying that "the service could help analysts who currently track blogs 'only to the extent that it provides an idea which the analyst can independently verify.' "
Would that be a grudging, but formal acknowledgment, that there is great potential to find nuggets of information gold in them thar Internet hills?
Ah, but the quote goes on: "It's important to know that the smoke is out there, and that others see it. They may be more information value in online trends in the aggregate: 5,000 more web mentions of a product than the week before could be an important signal for an analyst covering the product's manufacturer."
Ah, so there's also potential collective wisdom from the maddening Internet crowds as well? The site hasn't launched yet, but according to the FT story, 10 hedge funds have already signed up, so they must think there's fire out there somewhere amidst all that smoke.
The IBM Information Fire Department refuses to stand by and watch the whole Internet go up in smoke. If you want to create some information heat yourself and integrate all your disparate data sources, check out this Website explaining our new IBM Information Server.
Aggregating my Aggregation
Meanwhile, in Wired magazine's "Monkey Bites," they listed the best and worst of Web 2.0 recently, and tuned me into NetVibes, which has been characterized as a "Web 2.0 personal portal featuring AJAX." Others are calling it just another RSS reader.
Curious, I checked it out yesterday, and decided it was much more than just another RSS reader, and am going to give it a whirl as my own next personal portal (Warning to Yahoo, MyYahoo has been my window to the Web for several years, but you've got some serious competition now, in my opinion).
In my work, I have to access all kinds of various Web-based information sources (both inside and outside IBM) on a daily basis, and I have been spending WAY too much time trying to navigate my way to those various sources, as well as just monitoring key information sources useful to my job.
Within about 10 minutes, I had completely customized the front page of NetVibes with a number of key blogs (via their RSS feeds) that I monitor, as well as added my Flickr photos, a weather map, an Alexa traffic widget that helps me monitor the traffic of several Websites, my del.icio.us bookmarks...the list goes on.
But the best part was being able to mix and match and move the boxed apps from one part of the page to another with my mouse. No programming, no HTML required.
This is smart computing. Kudos to the NetVibes team based in London and Paris, which apparently just received a $15 round of financing. As my dad used to tell me, don't spend it all in one place!