The concept of attention is fascinating, Bernardo Huberman, senior HP fellow and director of HP Labs’ Social Computing Laboratory, said at Mobilize 09 today.
To that effect, Huberman mentioned a couple of Labs products that he’s been working on that came out of research on mobile and web attention habits:
Friendlee: Builds an on-the-fly list of people you’ve been communicating with. This sounds a bit like Xobni, but for mobile. The app was originally developed for Android and is preparing for a pilot launch. It maps your friends’ location and availability (silent, vibrating, etc). If you stop communicating with someone, he or she eventually disappears off your list. Huberman said this might also be applicable in a corporate setting, for instance, for sales teams, but he’s mostly interested in consumers. It came out of research HP did on Twitter, where the average number of connections/followers is far greater than those with whom people have actual interactions.
i-catcher: This one comes out of research on the disproportionate popularity of some content on sites like Digg and YouTube. “A small fraction of content gets an inordinate amount of attention,” said Huberman. “Attention decays in a universal fashion; it has a half-life.” The tool sits on a web site and monitors the rate at which people are accessing content, then reorders that content to maximize the number of hits a piece of content gets. Sounds like Baynote.