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I’ll start with this blog entry a session of business ideas, which come up near me… which I cannot pursue at the moment, but are maybe interesting for others.
Tagline: Offer spare time activities to people planning a trip fitting to their interests and their personal time planning.
Technology: Mashup of APIs used from travel planning tools (like tripit.com or dopplr.com ) and crawled/stored information about events, touristic activites etc. based on user profiling e.g. from Facebook Likes.
Business models: mainly affiliate model (bringing guests to organizers of events/tour organizers)
Martin Hepp ( @mfhepp ), the author of the GoodRelations vocabulary for eBusiness, just posted a cookbook entry to show how business entities offering travel activities (outdoor, concerts etc.) can publish this information in a machine-readable way.
(I think) for this reason he defined the Ticket Ontology to describe events, activities and their business impact.
But for the time being (as long as not many travel organizer make their activities machine-readable) a crucial technical part is the collection of travel activites and making / keeping connections with these business entities offering activities.
Even this idea can make use of BigData analysis techniques: you can initially optimize and later predict, which kind of activity is attractive to which group of users. (a use case of customer segmentation).
For Googlemail you could do it like this:
0) Think of the kind of content you want to be notified of and write down terms which might accompany this type of content in a text/attachment. (like “flight confirmation” might also have fields like booking ID, departure date etc.)
1) if you need immediate user attention you might
1a) use google context sensitive gadgets ( https://developers.google.com/go… ) to identify content related to the type of content you are interested in. You can use a regular expression to match mails / attachments) or
1b) use the Google data API in case you are comfortable with handling in a backend process ( http://code.google.com/intl/de-D… ).
2) You can forward/post the mails/attachments to your web application and notify the user that you processed a kind of content.
In the context gadgets you are constrained in terms of processing to steps which you can do inside a JS-Script/an HTML-page), so regex evaluation is the most convenient solution, though it is not very flexible. (think of changing terms etc.)
When you need a learning model, you might want to use more sophisticated language processing toolkits, but they need a kind of backend processing capabilities, which requires regularly a backend server. (for Python look to www.nltk.org )