Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Time - an Additional Dimension

While thinking of cycles, time plays a very important role. A cycles always has a time duration associated with it. Actually time is the defining element of the rhythm. This opens the possibility to read a cycle disconnect from its spatial dimension. It is possible to have two or more cycles in sync in time but not in space.
But the problem to visualize time is a fascinating one. The simplest thing is often very complicated.

Clock by clocklink.com

Looking at some ways time is integrated as an option in services. I only recently came across he time option on the Google page. It is possible to search for key words or a combination of words and seeing the result ordered by the data. It is mainly meant to improve search results related to historic event or person. The only thing I found about the definition is that it shows the referred date. It i not really clear how things get lined up whether the data has to be in the text body or as a reference for a blog entry for example. The Google help is not very detailed.
I tried it with urbantick, but the result is not very exciting. Nothing show up in the timeline view, how sad. Only if tested in the experimental section it comes up with some decent results. Although here it becomes clear that the timeline responds to the dates integrated in the body of the text. Unfortunately Google has not et integrated the function for the general blog search. So we play with something else then. It works well for terms like London:

Image by UrbanTick - screenshot

On the other hand in the Google News section the timeline option is brilliant. Here it works really good as it is pretty clear what time and date mean and how it is used. In this context it is rather surprising that it did not exist from the beginning as news live on time. There are a number of setting that can be made, including user queries. Then the time span and time frame can be adjusted.

Image by UrbanTick - screenshot

Even with messages the aspect of time has become much more important. Looking at emails, they used to be a simple letter. The date sent was general ordering indicator. Only much later a sequence of correspondence with the same topic or same person became highlighted in some email programs. Googlemail has then introduced the conversation as an organizing criteria. Moving towards a proper chat communication with email messages shows the effort Google takes with the development of WAVE, the next generation of messaging application.
The same goes for the iPhone message board. It is no longer arranged by date and time, but by conversation, what a leap!