In a former lifetime when I was championing metadata and standards around the world one of the most common questions and reasons for doubting this was the future, was that it would be impossible to ever have enough metadata. Where was it all going to come from and who was going to create it all? With most people still thinking that metadata was the same as library cards in the catalogue and that all metadata had to be entered by us humans, it was a reasonable concern. I remember my dear friend Erik Duval and I, and others, suggesting that this was not impossible at all and that much of the metadata would come from automated metadata generation. At the time we could only point to a limited number of very early examples. Clocks and GPS sensor in cameras for example could automatically add time and location to the information of each photo which also includes all the details of the camera used, exposure settings and more. But this was barely the beginning and now it seems like I’m finding more examples everday and ones which are creating metadata at a truly breathtaking rates and scale. And not just simple metadata but very rich and deeply detailed sets of metadat are being created.
A recent example (below) prompting this post was how SimpleGeo, (a relatively small starttup that hasn’t even launched!), is already indexing over one million locations PER HOUR. Listen to to SimpleGeofounder Joe Stump describe some of the metadata this is generating and just one example of how this could be used in this quote from
"Location-based devices only provide a latitude and a longitude, sometimes an altitude," he said. "What they don't provide is a ZIP Code, city, state, county, weather data, messages and photos posted near the site. They don't provide business listings, Wikipedia entries, census data (for demographics), articles written or posted near the location," all of which SimpleGeo does. For example, a location-based game set in San Francisco could accurately display its players gleaming in the California sun, or obscured by Golden Gate fog, based on the real-time weather data from around town.”
Even this is but the beginnings of the gathering of metadata snowflakes as they pick up speed rolling down the hill turning into an exponentially growing snowball and avalanche of metadata. Watch more so for the kinds of previously unimaginable benefits and capabilities which all this metadata will enable.