This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
UPDATE: This blog has been retired as of August 2011. See this post for more information or connect with me on Twitter.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
TiVo tries people-driven recommendations
Over at the TiVo Blog, there is a post about an upcoming feature called Guru Guides. GG will be a new way for your TiVo to recommend shows. Instead of using an algorithm in their software, they are letting so-called experts recommend shows for you in their areas of expertise.

According the press release, the first group of Gurus includes Sports Illustrated, CNET (hey, I've heard of them), Billboard and Star.

I think this is an interesting approach to recommendations. I've had the TiVo Suggestions feature turned off since 2001 (about 2 months after I started using it). It was never very good and I didn't feel like investing the time to rate shows to tell it what I liked.

I think Digg has shown us that a group of like-minded individuals can provide results that are more interesting than the best recommendation algorithm. Plus, users are generally more forgiving of user-based systems.

For example, if Amazon recommends you items and you can see a flaw in their algorithm (you bought a toy for your nephew 3 years ago, so they *still* recommend toys), the entire system is called into question.

With things like Digg, you have no expectation of perfection. Plus, you will often find things that you are interested in that don't fall into a category that you would have assigned to yourself. For example, I would never put "astronomy" as an interest of mine; however, I always find myself checking out any hi-res photos of supernovas or black holes that are recommended on Digg.

Let's hope Guru Guides can offer a similar experience.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.