May 12, 2006
NEWLY PATENTED TECHNOLOGY COULD REVOLUTIONIZE ONLINE CONTENT MANAGEMENT
Extending back to 1999, when it was filed, the patent pre-dates and surpasses a number of existing systems that utilize user feedback and commentary to organize online information. US patent # 7,031.952 covers the use of multi-criteria ratings and quantified commentary for filtering and enhancing virtually any type of Web-based content. Additional patents covering the far-reaching technology are pending.
"At the same time Google was developing the page-rank system that has become the standard for organizing Web search results, KnowledgeFilter was working on a ranking system for organizing user-generated content,” said Michael Heumann, founder and president of KnowledgeFilter.
“Sorting Web pages by ‘page-rank’ and ‘relevance’ was great when users were only looking for the most popular Web pages, but things have changed radically in the last three years,” he said. “User-generated information, including blogs, forums, video and pictures, is overwhelming the search engine model successfully exploited by Google and others before Web 2.0 content began flooding the Internet. The Web has returned to its user-content roots, and it now makes sense to incorporate human feedback into the content organization and search process.”
Recent studies show that search engine users prefer immediate access to information without having to scan large volumes of content. With KnowledgeFilter, the most personally relevant information rises to the top of each page and user comments appear in a unique side-by-side format that highlights the most agreed upon comments on any side of an issue. Users can add new comments, or vote to elevate existing ones.
Many Web sites currently use ratings and comments, but only KnowledgeFilter's patented approach allows users to sort content according to multiple-criteria ratings or comment support level. It is also the only user-comment system to filter qualitative feedback by highlighting the most compelling views on alternate sides of any issue.
Originally designed as a group-moderated alternative to the common threaded discussion, the KnowledgeFilter system has sweeping applications in today's interactive Web environment.
In addition to filtering and enhancing discussion and search results, the system can be used to:
• Tap collective talent for the creation and self-organization of online collections of video, pictures, writings, ideas and creative works;
• Provide consensus-based decision support for people seeking insight and information on topics ranging from individual consumer and medical decisions to complex problems in science, politics and industry;
• Integrate the Web and traditional media by allowing readers to weigh in on issues and democratically select the best user-generated content for newspapers and other media;
• Combine collective knowledge and experience into self-organizing knowledge bases that continually increase in quality and reliability.
Now that the patent has been awarded, KnowledgeFilter is exploring the option of selling or licensing its technology and associated intellectual property to a short list of qualified target companies.
The current design team is continuing to develop the software, and envisions the creation of a KnowledgeCenter portal that would serve as an alternative to search engines for finding the most useful information on the Web. The KnowledgeCenter.com portal would linkhundreds of topic-specific forums hosted by Web sites with specialized knowledge and ad revenue opportunities.
“We are excited about sharing the results of our early work in this expanding arena," Heumann said.
User-generated content and global web-based knowledge sharing is exploding on the Web 2.0 frontier. Following are links to articles relevant to the subject:
Sebastopol firm aims to make sense of Web
By Steve Hart
"Armed with a patent for its technology, Sebastopol startup KnowledgeFilter Inc. is ready to market software designed to organize vast amounts of content on the Internet. The system lets Web users determine which content gets the most visibility. It's part of the Web 2.0 movement..."
The Next Generation of Knowledgebase
By Alexis Gutzman
"KnowledgeCenter permits sites to leverage the knowledge of visitors, turning traffic into content."
Search Engines Find a Role for Humans
By Kevin J. Delaney
"Web search engines rely on complex algorithms and tens of thousands of computer servers to provide the best results. Now, in a twist, some of the biggest search companies are turning to real live humans to boost their offerings."
Google rolls out more products in high-tech battle
"The information-sharing feature, known as 'Google Co-op,' marks the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's first foray into 'social search'' - a niche that has been a Yahoo focal point."
Google dives deeper into vertical, social search
By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service and Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service
"Google Inc. will extend its vertical search and social bookmarking..."
Digital Lynch Mob
By Richard Cohen
One Writer’s battle with unfiltered content...
Who's Building the Next Web?
By Brad Stone and Steven Levy
"Web 2.0... The expression can stand for many things—the kind of start-up that forges new connections among Web users..."