New Book Received: The Intelligent Web, Search, smart algorithms, and big data. By Gautam Shroff, Oxford University Press, 2013; 320 Pages. Price £20.00, ISBN 978-0-19-964671-5
As we use the Web for social networking, shopping, and news, we leave a personal trail. These days, linger over a Web page selling lamps, and they will turn up at the advertising margins as you move around the Internet, reminding you, tempting you to make that purchase. Search engines such as Google can now look deep into the data on the Web to pull out instances of the words you are looking for. And there are pages that collect and assess information to give you a snapshot of changing political opinion. These are just basic examples of the growth of "Web intelligence", as increasingly sophisticated algorithms operate on the vast and growing amount of data on the Web, sifting, selecting, comparing, aggregating, correcting; following simple but powerful rules to decide what matters. While original optimism for Artificial Intelligence declined, this new kind of machine intelligence is emerging as the Web grows ever larger and more interconnected.