Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Can Google's "Recorded Future" Help Predict the Future?

Timeline view of news about man-made disasters in Thailand
While it's been said that you can't predict the future, there's no denying the holy grail for business is to predict the most likely future scenarios and to provide the business with strategic flexibility that will anticipate a variety of possible outcomes.  Software vendors such as SAS and Cognos provide predictive analytics tools and the explosion of data analytics will fuel demand for these solutions. 

Not content to just knowing everything about the past, Google Ventures recently announced an investment in startup company Recorded Future.

According to Google, "Recorded Future extracts time and event information from the Web. Recorded Future offers customers new ways to analyze the past, present and the predicted future."

The company explains it this way:
"At Recorded Future, we compute a momentum value for each entity and event in our database," one blog post explains. "The momentum value indicates how interesting a certain event or entity is at a particular time, and is continuously updated. In computing the momentum value, we take into account the volume of news around an entity or event, as well as what sources it is mentioned in, what other events and entities it is mentioned together with, and several other factors.
"The momentum measure is used to present the most relevant query results in our web user interface, but it can also be analyzed using statistical methods to predict possible future changes in momentum, which in turn can be valuable, e.g. for trading decisions."

It's too early yet for Recorded Future and any predictions that Google will become the next SAS, but this kind of tool will inevitably make its way to scenario planning for big business.

If you'd like to explore these ideas further with me and make sure that your company is ready for this next wave of business intelligence, please contact me directly. I look forward to connecting with you!

Alan Wunsche