Search Engine Watch Blog

Time is money.

Events take place in time.

Broker/control events (i.e. time) and you're going to make a lot of money.

Only in the last week or so have I figured out what a juggernaut Gmail is for making Google a lot of money in the event space, but not without some help.

Matching an event to an audience is about finding a relevent event and a relevent audience.  Destinations like CitySearch have trouble finding either.  Not all the events are listed there, and they don't get the traffic they want.  That was Events 1.0.

Then you've got Events 1.5...   EVDb and  These sites allow you to share more with friends... they're more focused around user generated content, but they're still centralized depositories.  They lack the distribution of production.  You can create your own event rolls, but you don't really take advantage of the distributed event listing going on around the web... just the distributed communication.  Its one way and everyone's got to go to them to post for this to work.

Events 2.0 is vertical search.  Its Zvents and BusyTonight... coming at each other from opposite coasts.  They don't need to build a community to get their service going.  Vertical search works, to a greater or lesser degree, on day one.  If you've got an event, they'll find it (at least that's the promise anyway), no matter where you are.  All of the eventrolls, community features, events your friends are going to, etc. would naturally come after that.  (Events 2.1?)

But, this still doesn't quite do it.  I've got to sit down and search for events everytime I want to do something.  That's not quite discovery.  Its still search.  Its not the kind of serendipitious discovery I get from RSS feeds of random good stuff bubbled up from the community, like the tag combo of Mustang and cars.

So, how to solve the discovery issue?  Well, it just so happens that Google is sitting on a mountain of a lot of personal data on all of its Gmail users.  Now all they need to do is to use it as fuel for GCal, buy or make a vertical search tool, and they'll have the greatest calendar ever produced on the web--one that fills itself!!

They've already convinced Gmail users of how benign it is to let a computer search their e-mail to produce relevent ads in exchange for a killer service.  I'd bet a lot of those users would use a slick calendar app if, with one click, it filled itself with potential events for you based on all of your historical e-mail content. 

The missing link is the events themselves.  I hope Google doesn't buy EVDb, but goes all out and buys a vertical search tool--one that comprehensively indexes the web for every last event.

There's no reason why GCal shouldn't let me know when all of the next Mets related events are (hell, put the whole damned schedule on my calendar).  Kayaking?  It should see how many times I mention downtown boathouse in my e-mail, figure out what that is (b/c its the first thing that comes up in google, of course), go to our homepage and put all of our classes and schedule up there as well.  Same with concerts of bands I talk about.   That's Events 3.0.

On top of that, when it asks, "This looks like something you're into, are you going/interested?" and I click yes, it should notify (if I set it to) all of my other Gmail friends.  It shouldn't e-mail them, but it should have a "4 people you know are thinking of going to this" status area, and let the user click through to see who those people are (if they opt in to make themselves viewable.)

Something like this would make people who don't even use calendars start to use them.  It would also open up a whole new type of ad category:  Sponsored event listings.  It would allow advertisers to reach me with events on nights I'm not doing anything else... either to get me out of the house or to keep me in, since TV advertisers would probably pay to reach me on nights I appear to be free regularly.

The calendar, powered by e-mail, will prove to be a powerful attention broker, and right now I think Google has the best e-mail, the technology to search it, and the ability to buy or build the events. 

Events 3.0, here we come.  So long lonely Saturday nights.