Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Five Web Trends Into 3.0 (3)

3) Semantic Web, emerging

The third Web trends into 3.0 is Semantic Web. Or more precisely, it is the emerging of machine-understandable resources in the Web.

Quite a number of people believe that Web 3.0 is the Semantic Web. Cautiously, however, I doubt it. The Web is evolving towards the Semantic Web. But the evolution is a lasting process. To say Web 3.0 is the Semantic Web is the same as to tell a 6-year-old child that he will be an adult immediately after the seventh birthday.

The center of the Semantic Web is a web of machine-understandable data. By machine-understandable machines knows how to process an arbitrary input data based on the semantic meaning of the data.

After more than a decade in struggling and debating, recently we have seen more and more new services starting to embrace the Semantic Web technology, or something similar. Google declared its support for RDFa, an essential Semantic Web technology. Moreover, the new Google Squared is another evidence that Google is diving deeper and deeper into the realm of semantic search. Although Walfram Alfa claimed not have used the standard Semantic Web technologies in its implementation, its general philosophy is the same as the Semantic Web. Based on the pre-constructed machine-processible knowledge base, Walfram Alfa computes the knowledge systematically and make the results accessible to everyone.

Again, the crucial point here is not on which technologies these new semantic services have embraced. It is on what kind of new data these semantic services are producing! The resources that are produced by these semantic services are indeed more critical to the Web evolution than the services themselves. By using the Semantic Web technologies, the services certainly provide us advanced options to explore the Web. But more importantly, these services are gradually transforming the ordinary Web data to the machine-understandable Semantic Web data when we use them. Hence silently the Web is evolving to the Semantic Web.

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1 comment:

Biz said...

Wolfram Alpha is a good news in the area of search engines. It has some advantages compared to the other search engines. Still, it is not the competition to Google or other search engines, since it uses totally different approach. It is more like dictionary or encyclopedia than search engine.