This could be a giant leap forward for the web… toward a useful giant global graph.
Common Tag, which was released yesterday, is a logical extension of Linked Data. In a nutshell, it offers an accessible and open standard to incorporate semantic tags in web content. It is supported by a range of up-and-coming semantic players, the most notable among them being Yahoo SearchMonkey.
That, in itself, is a solid step forward. Its simple set of standards adds the necessary muscle to the RDFa skeleton. Common Tag ties tagged concepts to URIs, defined addresses centralized in a handful of trusted repositories, yet even advocates straightforward cut-and-paste to tag HTML. Simple and powerful. (more…)
I ran quickly through the ZDNet review this morning and saw a few interesting items related to the semantic web and web 3.0.
First, a video explaining the idea behind “Semantic Search”. My computer’s audio capabilities are down right now, so I can’t hear anything, but it looks like it might be a good entry-level description. It’s also another nice sign that Semantic Web is making it mainstream. Note it’s again being described as Web 3.0, so is it progressively winning that war? (as you know if you’ve read this blog before, I personally support a broader web 3.0 definition)(more…)
As previously trumpeted on this blog… I attended and participated as a panelist at the Web 3.0 conference in Santa Clara last week. The conference had two tracks, business and technical, and I decided to attend the business track, to try and see where we are at when it comes to concrete applications of the technologies. And perhaps get some insight on which business models are going to make it in the web 3.0 era.
My first surprise came from the size of the conference: it was smaller than I expected… But in retrospect, I see that my expectations were probably too high. After all, most people don’t even understand what Web 2.0 stands for yet…
The interesting thing is that I had flown there from San Diego, where I attended the Solar Power International conference (through my management consulting activity, I am looking at business models across the whole range of emerging technologies, and solar power is another one of them). The parallel was interesting. I have been following solar power for a long, long time, and I remember a few years ago when solar power conferences were the size of what the web 3.0 conference was last week. (more…)
Image by badosa via FlickrWhat is Web 3.0? What will be the main idea behind it? A Personal Web? An Intelligent Web? Or the Web of Openness, as I suggested a week ago?
The discussion continues here, and just received some really interesting comments from Marta Strickland, Editor / Wine lover and, yes, 80s-horror-movies expert at ThreeMinds, as well as Graham Matthews, who is working on a semantic web start-up attempting to use ontologies to do large scale data integration, and who seeks some partners in crime.
Marta Strickland talks about "a world with web services instead of web sites", a formula I really like. Going from there, she adds the idea of Personalization on top of that of Openness, and assert that both will sustain Web 3.0 as a concept. By Personalization, she seems to refer to Intelligence and what I had tentatively called the "Personal Web" and the "Personal Assistant Web" in my post on Web 3.0. A web that cuts through all the noise to deliver what YOU want, using its independent knowledge of your personal preferences and needs. May I suggest calling it a Web of One?
Then Graham Matthews, along similar lines ultimately, advocated in favor of Reasoning as the big thing in Web 3.0, based on what he considered to be a truly technological revolution – as opposed to Web 2.0, which was enabled by new ways of using pre-existing technologies.
I have decided to give the FREE Full-Conference Pass to Graham to thank him for his contribution. Graham will use the ticket to go to the conference in addition to the NYC/PAWS Semantic Meetup Mash-up (Early Semantic Successes), where he was already scheduled to go. You can meet both of us there.
I liked the way Graham's post exemplifies the spreading view that Web 3.0 =
Semantic Web. My sixth sense seems to point out to the Web 3.0 idea
remaining broader than that. Web 3.0 =
Semantic Web is a bit of a techie's perspective; but techies' perspectives sometimes prevail and shape the ultimate market definition. So, as the answer is still very much up in
the air, it will be interesting to see if Web 3.0 indeed becomes primarily driven by and synonymous with the Semantic Web.
In my own eyes, the commonality in Marta and Graham's comments is that their definitions both reflect lots of hopes and high expectations. Marta talks about Personalization as the "MUCH needed other half" of Web 3.0, and Graham points to it as "allowing machines to process data on a far more sophisticated level than we do now".
I agree that "noise" and information overload are a massive problem, probably number one on the list of many web users. I remain unsure whether it will be resolved during the web 3.0 era.
Current pattern recognition and data "reasoning" technologies have shown their limits, and indeed semantic technologies are helping with that; but simultaneously, I am unsure that the progress in that domain will come to take centrestage by trumping all the other advancements which will fuel the Web 3.0 trend. One way or the other, I don't know.
Overall, if the rdf stack can bring stepchange improvements in reasoning, “intelligence” may become the key theme of Web 3.0, and allow for automated personalization (as opposed to just personalization, which to me can imply letting me loosely put together more content I like, as the web 2.0 already does). The main difference is that I’m not yet convinced that semantic technologies will deliver significant changes soon enough to dominate the Web 3.0 idea, and I think the prevalence of Reasoning and true Personalization might have to wait for a "Web 4.0".
The other issue with the themes of reasoning and personalization is that they do not capture the
possibilities open by a range of technologies such as the ones in mobile and localization especially, but also in data
recognition and conversion. These technologies are already having an impact and will constitute a large part of our web experience going forward.
So I prefer to place my bets on a broader concept, Openness. RDF, linked data and other semantic technologies already open up data interchange really nicely. I know, it's the same good old theme of "all things talking to each other", and then what? Well, add on top of it emerging localization and data conversion capabilities, and you get lots of immediate and interesting benefits. I can access the web anywhere. I can cut down on my number of online profiles, I can connect legacy systems to each other (as Dow Jones did, per Eric Hoffer's report in the July/August issue of Nodalities), I can get my voicemails transcribed automatically (granted, I haven't tried that Vonage feature yet!) and I can find pictures looking like other pictures I have. And yes, I can reason on it, but I don't necessarily have to. The key idea is that my whole web moves from a closed system that dictated the way I did things to an open system that supports and enriches my life.
Don't get me wrong: we are fully alignedon the main marketing themes. Personalization, reasoning, openness all should increase under Web 3.0. And deliver more of the one driving benefit everybody – at the exception perhaps of last-stance Luddites — wants to see happening: machines doing more of the boring stuff for US, so we can focus our energy on works of imagination and creativity instead! The point I debate here is which idea will become the dominant theme for the next Web era, and attract the most people to try new "web services" that may turn out to be Web 3.0.
This said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Web 3.0 ended up representing all of those concepts. I don’t think it will be much better defined than Web 2.0, actually, nor does it have to be. Although there is obvious value in the answer, there surely is even more in the discussion itself. So… why not keep it Open?
I look forward to seeing many of you at the panel I will be on, which is panel B4 on Business models, strategies, and valuation for Web 3.0, and encourage you to connect through LinkedIn ahead of time.