If only there was a time machine that could help us revisit the past - well fellow time traveller wannabes, never fear; as such a machine has been invented. And by machine I mean browser, so without further ado - ladies and gents, boys and girls, I present to you; Microsoft Lifebrowser.
More and more businesses are recognising the professional benefits of understanding the interests of their customers, so it makes sense that such data mining is brought in within the home to allow users to recognise the personal advantages. That's why Microsoft Research has developed such a tool, whereby Lifebrowser catalogues certain events from your past and sorts them into digital landmarks. Processing photos, emails, web browsing history, Lifebrowser is based on a Bayesian model - which helps work out the probability of a particular event holding a certain significance to the user.
"The motivation behind Lifebrowser is that we have too much stuff going on in our personal digital spheres," explained Eric Horvitz, the scientist at Microsoft responsible for the creation of Lifebrowser. "We were interested in making local machines private data-mining centers [that are] very smart about you and your memory so that you can better navigate through that great amount of content."
Navigation of Lifebrowser is simple; using a volume control allows you to zoom in and out of the details - and the browser can also locate memorable items with its search function, allowing the user to see related content such as emails and images.
Whilst personally the browser serves a distinct purpose as a virtual shoebox of memories, on a professional basis, the facility can also help businesses track their success. The tool could also prove its worth medically, especially in the case of patients suffering from early dementia - allowing them to retain key events to pass on to future generations.
There seems to be a lot of potential with Lifebrowser, and whilst there are clear similarities between that and Facebook's timeline layout, the clean and organised interface of Microsoft's browser could give the scattered timeline a run for its virtual money.
Source: Technology Review