Sunday, October 23, 2011

The comparison business

Claims and strategies relate to any aspect of society.  We tend to claim that our form of government is best.  Someone thinks that a given treatment or remedy or practice is best.  Even thinking about "best" reveals further details and questions.  How long ago was this the best and have conditions changed since then?  Was this best for someone like me?  Now that I am choosing, should I select this?

One of the fundamental beliefs in our society is that competition (of certain types) leads to improved products, services and practices.  Yes, XX is best now but by tomorrow, my new version will be out and it will be even better.  Competition (of certain types - no fair killing the opposition or slandering them or kidnapping them, etc.) leads to multiplicity, to plurality.  So, we have many types of tvs, cars, soft drinks, hard drinks and just about anything else.

You may be able to remember when "web sites" were a new, weird thing.  Then, we started seeing paid ads that said visit our web site at  Pretty soon, the search engine called "Lycos" came along and made searching for things possible.  Now there are something like 30,000 search engines, maybe more.  You may also remember when the big question was how could a web site make money, since if it didn't somehow, the expense of having it would eventually be too great and the web site, its coding, its connection to the rest of the internet would be removed.  Then, came the two computer science doctoral students at Stanford, Brim and Page, with their faster, more powerful, more useful searcher, "Google".  Within about a decade, Google became one of the richest, most successful companies there is.

Of course, many people are looking for a way to make the world wide web pay them, too.  There are many approaches.  One is comparison.  Now that you can find cameras at many places from your computer or smart phone, it would be nice if you could have a nice, perhaps tabular, comparison of several candidates for your choice.  Enter the comparison site which will do just that for you.  

Ever since Facebook reached numbers like 500 million users and open source computing that asked everybody to contribute their brain power to a design or a plan or a document, companies have turned to "social computing" and greater participatory computing.  But some are hoping to be the first choice for comparison shopping.

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