Personalized Services

I was listening to the CIO Daily News Podcast this morning and their report on Google Checkout and it got me thinking about privacy and personalization. The first thought running through my mind was that this could be a gold mine for them with their advertising model. While I don’t know the details of how it works, it is possible that their service could have visibility into not only how much money you spent and who you spent it with, but all of the products you purchased, as well. The key to the whole advertising model is targeted advertising. With the ability to see this, even if it winds up being no more than the dollar amount rather than each line item, Google could now sell advertising for say, MacWarehouse, that would show up on technology related queries by users who they know have made purchases at MacMall. It would be no different than checkout coupons at the grocery store. Anyone who has purchased baby food has probably received coupons at checkout for a competing vendor. If Google is able to see each line item, the information only becomes even more powerful. Looking at what amazon can do just with their knowledge of how their site is used, imagine what could be done where your purchasing habits were aggregated across a wide number of e-commerce sites.

My point of this post was not to raise a bunch of privacy concerns, however. I know that data collection is a part of life and I think it does far more good than harm. What I really began thinking about is the notion of personalized services, the outcome of collecting all of this data. What is the appropriate way to incorporate personalization into a Web Service? Does personalization impact the interface definition? The more common example is alternate implementation paths, which wouldn’t necessary imply a new interface. An example of this is the gold-platinum user. Perhaps their requests always get routed to the server with the least amount of load. Another example would be a flight reservation system. If the system knows that I always request window seats, a personalized service would always recommend a window seat when available if the request came from me. Other simple cases could simply be the inclusion/exclusion of particular operations. Outside of formating of values, I haven’t come up with a great example of where the interface would vary, but I’m sure they exist. It’s a difficult question though, because personalization is usually associated with something that’s destined for a user rather than something that is destined for another system. The one thing that is a definite must, however, is that identity must be on all service requests. There should be no such thing as an anonymous request. If not, you have no hope of personalization.

So, has anyone out there run across some case studies of personalization applied to SOA?

One Response to “Personalized Services”

  • […] Back at the end of June, I posted some of my thoughts on personalized services after the announcement of Google Checkout. At that time, a lot of my thinking was on how a service provider can personalize services for their consumers. Since then, my thinking has went in a different direction. In cases like Google Checkout, a third party is in the position of being able to collect and potentially share lots and lots of information about our shopping practices (no worse than what credit card companies already have). […]

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