With the rise of consumer health-tracking devices and social-media-connected mobile health apps, the quantified-self movement has moved from data-obsessed engineers and hackers into the mainstream, thanks in part to new gadgets (such as the Nike FuelBand and the Fitbit) and apps like Strava and the Eatery. GigaOM Pro readers are no exception: “The quantified self: hacking the body for better health and performance,” Jody Ranck’s assessment of the technologies and concepts driving the quantified-self movement, was the week’s most popular research report. The movement represents an exciting intersection between big data and consumer behaviors, but it also carries its share of ethical, regulatory and privacy challenges. Ranck’s report examines the current landscape and analyzes what needs to happen next to drive further growth and innovation in the connected health space.
Next, in “Microsoft raises bar for social search,” David Card takes a first look at the company’s new redesign of its Bing search engine, the biggest overhaul of the product in its three-year lifetime. With a greater emphasis on social-search features, Bing demonstrates loudly that Microsoft is still strongly focused on winning the search game and wants to set the standard for social search. According to Card, the new Bing might just be the winning ticket.
Last, the solar industry has seemingly recovered from last year’s Solyndra debacle, and it has refocused efforts on increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic cells. Cindy Waxer looks at potential disruptors and innovators in this space in “The manufacturers’ race to a cost-effective solar source.”
Also popular this week: