I just found an essay titled “Ambient Findability” by Peter Norville that seems almost like an outline of what would one year later become his terrific same-titled book AM. The ideas are pretty rough and unpolished in the essay (or perhaps it’s only that I saw them first full-formed) but here are three highlights:
Google is undoubtedly having an impact on the evolution of the English language. I’d be surprised if the folks at the Oxford English Dictionary don’t have a secret threshold number of hits needed for new words to become official. “Blog” was recently added (3.7 million Google hits). I’m sure “Findability” is next (3,690 Google hits). Google is changing authority in ways we don’t fully understand.
As information becomes increasingly disembodied and pervasive, we run the risk of losing our sense of wonder at the richness of human communication.
And in the context of e-commerce, I’m fascinated and encouraged by the ability of customer reviews on sites like Amazon and Epinions to empower and inform consumers, increasing pressure on companies to build better products.
Interestingly, these reviews are driven by participation economies that reward the Top Reviewers AM with attention and trust. Note that the #1 Top Reviewer at Amazon (4550 book reviews) is Harriet Klausner AM, formerly an acquisitions librarian in Pennsylvania. This just goes to show that librarians were destined to rule the Web.
Peter Morville, Ambient Findability