Alright, so we all know that big data is the here and now of the technology industry. Everyone is talking about it and it’s not hard to see the value that a solid big data initiative will bring.
But let’s talk about the future of big data for a moment. I mean, technology never stands still, so our capacity for data interrogation will continue to increase, meaning we will quickly outgrow our existing technologies.
I believe that big data is going to change the way our entire web ecosystem operates. What do I mean by that? Well, at the minute, someone will navigate to your website, they will have a look around and you’ll be able to use your Google Analytics data to understand what they did on your website. That’s useful, but hindsight doesn’t help you to position your website specifically for that user. What we need is real time big data, spanning across the web, so that we can serve different pages, depending on the users internet browsing habits.
Alexa, for example, collects a lot of data about users across the web. It does that by injecting its code into many browser plugins. That means, if you install that plugin and begin to browse the web, it is able to see exactly what you’re doing.
This sort of tool would give website owners unique insight into the users that are visiting their websites. Let’s say that a customer was looking at a new TV on one website, you could systematically rebuild pages to show the user only the content that they want to see when they arrive at the website.
This would reduce a lot of the noise on webpages (the stuff you’re not interested in) and would focus the customer on the product that they’re actually interested in.
Are we far away from this? No – Google already has a huge chunk of the browser market, so they could push this information into Google Analytics when a user enters your website. You could then interrogate that database and serve a unique page structure to each user.
But it can go further than that. Google also has a large proportion of the mobile and email markets, which means that they can profile individuals extremely accurately. They know what you look for on the web, the apps you’ve installed, who you email, what you email them about amongst plenty of other information. They could profile individuals and provide webmasters access to that information at a fee.
Imagine knowing the age, interests, gender etc.. of your customer, before they arrived at your website. That would enable you to update the look and feel, language and layout of the page, to specifically meet that individuals needs. In the real world, you wouldn’t talk to an 18 year old male in the same way you would talk to a 60 year old female, so why should you online?