The semantic web, simply put, is a layer of information that describes web content itself, universally, so it can be be databased, integrated, networked and understood by different systems, in my humble opinion is part of the future of how we use the web, and how IP based extensions begin to make their way into the terrestrial based non-wired parts of our lives. I’ve been a proponent of the semantic web for some time, and ironically the medical and defense communities have been using elements of the semantic web for some time now (in a fairly basic form), but it’s yet to work its way into standard day-to-day internet business or online advertising practices. Of course many technologies fulfill part of the concept, but not universally, which is the power of the semantic web. In my predictions for 2008, I included “ambient findability & the semantic web” coming to realization this year…albeit only in nascent stages. Google’s open social initiative and other open source concepts have exposed the tip of this iceberg for a long time.
BBC reports today “Yahoo has announced its adoption of some of the key standards of the semantic web.”
They report a quote from Amit Kumar, director of product management for Yahoo search – “despite ‘remarkable progress’ being made on how to classify meaning on webpages, the benefits of this work have not been felt by the average web user.”
Amen to that brother! Let’s tap into the collective knowledge & experiences that exist in the web2.0 ecosystem that we’ve created for ourselves. It’s out there waiting for us to better organize it, which is a win-win for all.
Ultimately the combination of the mathematical forces behind the exponential growth of social media and the amount of professionally produced content and experiences, require a universal tagging and cataloging schema – an aspect of the semantic web. Otherwise the growth and ability for consumers to find truly relevant content and experience is thwarted and eventually becomes as fragmented as media itself, or in fact much more so. I’d argue that we already hit that point.