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Long Live the Recommendation Engine

One of my favorite facets of the social web is the notion of a recommendation engine. This is essentially a vehicle for discovery of new content or ideas (art, music, fashion, food, etc. . .) driven by the recommendations of others usually somewhere in your social sphere. These engines take many forms, and they have been around for a long time. For example, I subscribe to a Google Group that is all about discovering new music. The forum is a large group of people with similar tastes in music and culture who use the list to share thoughts, ideas, and opinions on music they experience. From this group alone I've discovered countless new artists that I may not have otherwise discovered. From an engagement standpoint, companies like NetFlix & Amazon have the recommendation engine down pat, and have really turned this into a mechanism to drive sales. To find a few leading edge examples of recommendation engines, you don't have to look much further than some of the more popular social platforms of the day. Pinterest, FoodSpotting, and Instagram, can all be considered forms of recommendation engines. I enjoy all of these platforms and the ideas, content, and inspiration that they are designed to share. Where do you seek inspiration and new ideas?