Both personalization and recommendations are part of the web for at least 10 years now. Initially providing suggestions based on what other users with similar habits and product histories selected, algorithms were improved and made accessible even for small retailers.
Technology that truly understands and recognizes us as dynamic and unique individuals rather than segmenting into different types will be the predominate trend. It’s a movement from the Web mentality of searching, to one of delivery.
At this stage, personalization is best achieved as a mashup of our interest graph, social graph, individual input, and qualifications of structured data. When maximized, this can work quite well, but we can’t stop there.
As the Web becomes personal, the technology needs to register and understand our flux in personality. This means incorporating more variables, such as awareness of time, location, daily schedule, habits and engagement with content. Furthermore, it means realizing that personal identity is a constantly shifting target.
The shift to a more personalized Web is all about revenue and customer/user experience. Ie money.