Is there anything that isn't data or metadata(which is data about data and therefore still data). And if everything is data, then what is the best way to retrieve everything. I bring this up based on the Google telescope project. It seems that Google is going to try and Google space. If you think about it, the idea isn't so crazy. To search the web, you put in some search criteria and via a complex algorithm, Google returns what it thinks you are looking for. Couldn't you do the same thing with space. Create an automated telescope that will accept some criteria and run that through a complex space search algorithm, and it gives you information about whatever it was you input. And if you can do that with space, shouldn't you be able to do that with anything. I should be able to search for my wife. Both now and before she even knew she was going to be my wife. How cool would that be. Put in things about yourself and what you value in a spouse and BAM!, the search engine returns prospective mates. Now I know you are thinking that dating services do that very thing, and they do. The problem is that both people have to be looking and looking on the same site. With this new search you automatically search everywhere and your potential spouse doesn't have to be aware that you are looking or even be looking themselves.
When you think about it, isn't it the data you were not aware of that is most valuable? The data you didn't know you needed or even had is the priceless stuff companies are paying big money for. That is the whole idea behind the data warehouse and the new SOA tools that allow all sorts of applications access to all sorts of data within a company. Unstructured data, structured data, drawings, people, ideas, all of it becomes more valuable the more ways you can search it and the more of it you can search together. So the fact that my would be spouse doesn't know she is looking or doesn't know I am looking is really the most valuable part that this search would offer. We might both be data the other needs even if we don't know it. Then again, maybe I just need to lay of the hash pipe for a while.
"Data and search are the future of technology, of this I am certain."
- Michael P. Dillon