The Search for Meaning
The Web is changing. The current Web is designed to allow computers to retrieve and deliver documents from other computers for the end user to view, read, and interpret. As anyone who has used Google’s (GOOG), Yahoo’s (YHOO) and Microsoft’s (MSFT) search engines can attest, sometimes the retrieval of desired documents and information is accurate and sometimes it is way off base. The Semantic Web, others prefer to call it Web 3.0, has the potential to change the game completely. In the Semantic Web, computers have the ability to understand the meaning of things, content, and documents. In essence, computers can read and interpret information, thereby lightening or shortening one of the steps human users have to perform in order to obtain, discover, and understand information online.
The game is changing but it has just begun.
The transition to Web 3.0 is in its nascent stages. Much work remains before it becomes a widespread reality but the promise is enormous. Some potential breakthroughs include a deeper understanding of user behavior, understanding what matters to them, and a revolutionary improvement in search. A lot of my work centers around health informatics, privacy of data, and multi-dimensional messaging. Much of it would be helped tremendously with the more intelligent approach promised by the Semantic Web.
Everyone is a publisher.
Google made a quantum leap over existing search engines when it launched. As the Web grows and everyone has become a publisher, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the search results have deteriorated in quality. This is because Google’s search engine cannot extrapolate or extract meaning from the web pages it scans and indexes. It can only match the words you type into the query field with the millions of web pages or documents that contain those same words. The next great search engine will be a semantic search engine. This could still be Google, but it will be a completely different Google from what we’re used to now.
Learning more about the Semantic Web.
Jupitermedia Corporation (JUPM) is producing the first ever Web 3.0 Conference & Expo this October in Silicon Valley. Some of the cutting edge companies pioneering advances in attendance include Dapper, Delve Networks, Metaweb Technologies, Powerset (recently bought by Microsoft – maybe Gates and Company get it after all, despite the bad Seinfeld commercials), Hakia, Peer39, and Zemanta. It’s exciting to see significant sums of venture capital being devoted to this opportunity to radically change search and the Web in general. I will be speaking in the Enterprise Information Management session.