Microsoft stock and business may be rather cold but their research work is HOT from what I’ve been seeing the past year. Let me bring but two recent examples to your attention and see if you don’t agree. These are also more examples for my ongoing quest around “What if the impossible isn’t?” or WITII?
The first is one called MS Pivot which tries to enable us to see the web almost literally as a web rather than just a set of pages. It works primarily with photos right now and I originally came across the underlying technology over a year ago when they were working on Photosynth, which is also equally worth checking out BTW, here is my previous post with my thoughts of how I see Photosynth technology being used.
As you watch, start to rethink your understanding of what search and filtering are really about and see some of the new possibilities Pivot enables.
The other bit of MS research to bring to your attention today is called SecondLight and for a metadata guy like me, this really catches my attention as a way to enable some truly powerful ways of visualizing underlying data, meta or not. This one is really a case of where it is much easier to learn by watching rather than reading so check out the video below and you’ll quickly see what this is all about. The first half of the video will show you what it does and the second half will show you how it works. I’m pretty sure by the end you too will be excited as you start to imagine the possibilities for use and especially for learning.
Whatever you may think of Microsoft, this is a great pair of examples of the kind of research which major corporations can contribute to and which bode well for our future innovations and discoveries. I hope that by bringing these capabilities to your attention we can collectively get better at “readiness for the unexpected” an the premature arrival of the future.