zlog 2.

online web periodical.

path: home / archives / 2004 / 02 / 22 / simplesemantics

Simple Semantics
> written 22/02/04. no comments.

I've been thinking a lot about the the Semantic Web ( "Semweb" ) recently. You know, as you do.

As the Semweb will be both useful and plausible in the near future I'd recommend reading up on it; that is, if riding on top of the wave of the technological advances is your thing. And for some people it's not.

Specifications mean nothing to end users -- all they want is raw results, usually in the form of easier and/or quicker task management. They'll want to know how they, personally, can benefit from this new Semweb thing. It's fine all those "web developer" types telling us that it's useful but what we really want to know is what new features does it add? Does it make the internet an easier tool to use? And so on. Of course the arrival of the Semweb doesn't just revolve around the web developers integrating Semweb-rich data into web pages. Applications which use this new enhanced data must be developed. One of the most obvious applications for a Semweb revamp would be Google. As (none other than) Paul Ford has written before;

"At its [the Semantic Web's] heart, it's just a way to describe things in a way that a computer can 'understand.' Of course, what's going on is not understanding, but logic...", Ford goes on to explain, "Using a markup language called RDF [...], you could put logical statements like these on the Internet, 'spiders' could collect them, and the statements could be searched, analyzed, and processed. What makes this different than regular search is that the statements can be combined. So if I find a statement on Jim's web site that says 'Jim is a friend of Paul' and someone does a search for Paul's friends, even if Paul's web site doesn't have a mention of Jim on it, we know Jim considers himself a friend of Paul."

This is what Google, Amazon and every-other commercial online venture has been waiting for. A chance to understand it's customers in greater detail, to be able to infer information about it's potential customers; this would in turn, be more profitable for them. Imagine a world were a smart "more like this page" link reigned supreme over the current, pseudo-dumb "similar pages" link, returned under each result from a Google query. The data for the "more like this page" feature would have been inferred from other documents on the same type/topic, of the same length and/or by the same author. As this would be much more likely to produce a more relevant "similar page" then just a simple text comparison. You thought the web was good? It's going to get better...


add a comment

all html tags will be stripped.