There was a time when predicting the future was the sole domain of mystics, auguries and madmen. Before the enlightenment it was commonplace for a ruling monarch to consult their court astrologer prior to making a decision. Knowledge of the future has always held a powerful allure and these days prediction is big business.
Everything from the markets to the weather is modelled and analysed, but until recently little historical data has been publicly available on the web. Tim O’Rielly, in his treatise on The State of the Internet Operating System, made an astute observation about the general lack of temporal data driven services.
“Time is an important dimension of data driven services – at least as important as location, though as yet less fully exploited. Calendars are one obvious application, but activity streams are also organized as timelines; stock charts link up news stories with spikes or drops in price. Time stamps can also be used as a filter for other data types (as Google measures frequency of update in calculating search results, or as an RSS feed or social activity stream organizes posts by recency.)”
The advent of open data is paving the way for a new kind of online service. Recorded Future brands itself as the world’s first temporal analytics engine. Their technology mixes historical search with statistical analysis to make predictions about the future. The results were impressive enough to land investment from Google Ventures making this technology in every sense, the search engine of the future.