Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Aardvark for PLM?

This blog is based on a posting I published in the "PLM PDM Professionals Group" in LinkedIn.

Aardvark for PLM?

Lately an enormous amount has been written about “Social PLM” and how it has the potential to be a game changer.

In February 2010 Google acquired Aardvark (available at as well as ). As the site says: “Ask any question and Aardvark will discover the perfect person to answer in minutes!” Now this is something amazing!

In the research paper “The Anatomy of a LargeScale Social Search Engine” by Damon Horowitz from Aardvark and Sepandar D. Kamvar from the Stanford University says “We present Aardvark, a social search engine. With Aardvark, users ask a question, either by instant message, email, web input, text message, or voice. Aardvark then routes the question to the person in the user’s extended social network most likely to be able to answer that question. As compared to a traditional web search engine, where the challenge lies in finding the right document to satisfy a user’s information need, the challenge in a social search engine like Aardvark lies in finding the right person to satisfy a user’s information need. Further, while trust in a traditional search engine is based on authority, in a social search engine like Aardvark, trust is based on intimacy. We describe how these considerations inform the architecture, algorithms, and user interface of Aardvark, and how they are reflected in the behavior of Aardvark users.”

Aardvark …is a new kind of tool that lets you tap into the knowledge and experience of friends and friends-of-friends. Send Aardvark a question and you’ll get a quick, helpful response from someone with…The right knowledge and experience to help, similar tastes, Friends in common” More coverage in the New York Times and Wired.

Will such crowd-sourcing tools like aardvark foster rapid innovation and product development cycles with social search (if they are integrated with enterprise CAD/PLM tools)? Will it drastically change the way people communicate and collaborate? What do you think?

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