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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Are we done with tagging?

My interest in tagging started way back when Umair Haque was talking about them and how transformative tagging would be.

Instead, people tag things they prefer, and ignore things they think don't prefer. In this way, preferences get implicitly aggregated, and then coordinated. That is, if 400 people tag bubblegen with technology, you might also reasonably suspect a significant proportion of them think it was cool enough to tag, which goes on to coordinate your preferences about bubblegen.

One immediate area when tagging can exert powerful influence is in the area of search. Tags represents an alternate way to find stuff.

At some point, tagging becomes more efficient than search. This point is reached when the number of Google clicks is greater than the number of related tag clicks (or similar proxy). When this happens, tagging becomes a perfect substitute for search.

Creating an alternate search paradigm was also the primary reason why Fred Wilson invested in Delicious. However, that vision was never realised. Delicious was sold to Yahoo and tagging became left by the sideway. I wonder if Delicious had continued, will it have reinvented search, like what Twitter is threatening now? It had the potential. For example, if you look at for tags, it is actually very similar to how the @ function works in Twitter. That in iself is quite a remarkable way of sharing.

Now, the only person I heard rallying about tagging is Marc Canter, who have said that:

We’ve certainly (collectively) dropped the ball on tagging

So, my big question is: are we done with tagging? Does our current services already provide what tagging has to offer or is that unexplored opportunity left by the early acqusition of Delicious?