Fo.rtuito.us is just rid.iculo.us

We’re in the peak of the Web 2.0 wave, with betas for all sorts of web apps coming out of our rears ears (that was a genuine typo!). Some are good, some are absolutely brilliant, but some are just dire.

fo.rtuito.usJoining the Hall of Shame is fo.rtuito.us, where you can meet random new friends. We know of del.icio.us now, we can almost spell it without having to pause too long. But fo.rtuito.us takes it that one step too far with the hip, Web 2.0 URL.

As a TechCrunch reader writes, “This is not Beta… more like Alpha. This could not have taken more than a couple of days to put together. The matching is completely randon, not based on any user data what so ever… Very innovative, not!”

I think it’s a pretty pointless site, and that, while it’s a novel idea, it should be no more than a feature within an existing site, rather than a site in itself. The users are randomly matched rather than based on any interests, location, age, etc… yet the “What would happen if we no longer used things like looks, age, sex and nationality to decide if we would try and become friends with a person?” homepage statement is negated by the fact that you MUST upload a picture when you create a profile.

Somebody needs to sit down and rethink the unique selling points and features of their little Web 2.0 dream…

4 responses to “Fo.rtuito.us is just rid.iculo.us

  1. pa

    Quand je lis.. je me sens dépassé par les nouveautés.. mais c’est cool pour les jeunes qui pensent et lisent vites..
    bonne journée!

  2. Considering that Web 2.0 is actually still in its developmental stage, we have to consider where it is at. Part of many of the promises of Web 2.0 are based upon relational data which is being compiled by sites such as del.icio.us. A lot of the potentiality of Web 2.0 is in networking… Joe Blow says ‘X’. Joe Blow is known and trusted by Jane Smith. I know and trust Jane Smith so I am inclined to listen to what Joe Blow has to say over Mark Billings, who I have never heard of and who is not known by anyone I know or trust. At the same time, how do we develop these connections of ‘trust’. Some of the sites like del.icio.us and Stumble! use a bookmarking or tagging system. However, this can have limited assistance. Aside from superficial interests the data does not get to the deeper level that human relationships do. By forcing people to get to know each other for 4 days and then chosing to list each other as friends, Fo.rtuito.us is populating a Web 2.0 database with potentially relavent networking data. What will be interesting is if this then gets tied to del.icio.us later on and webapps are developed to leverage the info much like google’s multitude of webapps. I think it is a start in the right direction and may actually help develop much more relevant Web 2.0 data. Only time will tell.

  3. Papa: Fais toi en pas, je te laisserai savoir quand on aura trouvé les super-applications du futur 😉

    Cyberus: Trying to understand your point through all the hot air in your example (no offence, it’s just… a lot of talk to say very little).

    I agree that we need to give Web 2.0 apps a chance and support the creators, but there’s a difference between a rough draft and a beta which still requires slight bug-fixing and user feedback.

    To give an example of fo.rtuito.us being dreadfully buggy – I received an email telling me my first friend has sent me a message, yet it was impossible to read it when logging in.

    Second example – I signed up as “thatcanadiangirl”, but when trying to log in the next day, I found out “thatcanadiangirl” was an unrecognised login and that I had actually been registered as “thatcanadiangir” without the “l” because it truncates name to a limited number of characters. How about telling the users when they register!?

    When elements as basic as login and messaging aren’t functional, it’s NOT Beta stage, it’s keep-it-under-wraps-until-its-any-good stage.

  4. Ok, let me explain a little further. The area of Web 2.0 technology that I am referring to is called the Semantic Web (SemWeb). Basically, the idea is that by storing meta data with resources on the internet we can not only make the resources more accesible, but also give them context which can be understood by software to better serve us. For example, having rich, relevant meta-data connected with resources on the web would not only allow better returns from search engines, it could allow software agents (sort of software personal assistants) to do things like find the best place to have my car repaired, set up an appointment and possibly negotiate the price using any discounts I may be entitled to. That is just one example of many possibilities.

    To reach such functionality, the SemWeb needs to go through several levels of development. First is Encoding and Addressability. This is laregely handled by URI and Unicode. Second is Syntax and Grouping which is handled by XML and Namspaces. The third level, Verifiability, is broken into Facts, which are handled by a technology called RDF, Classification, which begins with RDFS then developing an Ontology, then setting down Rules, then applying Logic to make sense of it, and finally Provenance, which requires Proof. All of this is layer is further tied together using technologies such as Signatures and Encryption. The last level is Belief/Acceptance which requires Trust. Following this heirachy of development may allow the SemWeb to define a Metaphysics for computers which in turn will allow us to write software which acts more intelligently, more human.

    So far, most attempts at SemWeb technology have gotten no further than the Classification stage. del.icio.us is such a site. They collect references to resources and attempt to connect them using meta-data. This is then used to supposedly help users of the site find things more interesting to them. The problem with this approach is the relative democracy of the system. It assumes that I am interested in what all the other users are interested in. Since many of the users are programmers things like AJAX, Java, Javascript and Ruby are in predominance. However, my interests in fencing or poetry or even the World Cup were unmentioned.

    The last stage of the SemWeb, Trust, looks to reach the point where data is connected in more relevant terms for the end user. The idea of developing a system based upon Human Relationships rather than just the by products of humans may be one way to begin to work to that level. Instead of my looking through tags for site as having something to do with fencing, if I were to meet other fencers or even martial artists who seemed to have some insight or maybe even knew someone else who had insight into fencing and I came to respect said persons opinions on the subject, my software agent could be set to peruse the net and inform me every time that that person or someone in their trust circle posted a resource pertaining to fencing. This would at least help narrow down the mounds of nonsense or data unusable to oneself (such as fencing classes offered accross the country) which one is presented with in some searches.

    While agree that the fo.rtuito.us site could stand some improvement in its basic coding, the idea is exciting as it may well represent a leap in SemWeb technology, especially if it becomes tied to google and del.icio.us-like sites. Even if it means that someone else takes the idea and develops it sepparately, better than fo.rtuito.us currently is (hey Google! get on it!). The fact is someone has taken a bold step and it should not be so simply dismissed.

    Hopefully this provides you with more substance and less hot air. For more info, google the Semamtic Web, Tim Berners-Lee, RDF, RDFS, etc.

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I'm Véro - a crafty, knitty, spinny gal who enjoys making (and drinking) a cocktail or three. If you've stumbled here, you might enjoy browsing some of my older posts with the tags over to the right or finding out more about me.

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