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Does Google finally get it!?

Posted by bryan on March 15, 2008 in Semantic Web, Web Services with No Comments


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In an interview summary entitled: Google could be superseded, says web inventor Jonathan Richards of UK Newspaper The Times Online reports how one of the World Wide Web’s most important innovators and proponents, Sir Tim Berners-Lee described Google as a syntactical search powerhouse of the current web that “may eventually be displaced as the pre-eminent brand on the internet by a company that harnesses the power of next-generation web technology”.

 

As usual for a Berners-Lee interview, there were many quotable moments, and without further adue we’ll list the best ones here:

 

(Comment on Google’s Search dominance and current focus):
“The search giant has developed an extremely effective way of searching for pages on the internet, but that ability pales in comparison to what could be achieved on the “web of the future”, which would allow any piece of information — such as a photo or a bank statement — to be linked to any other (piece of information).”

 

(Comment on the Social Media and SNS craze, Google has jumped on the band-wagon with OpenSocial):
“At the moment, people are very excited about all these connections being made between people — for obvious reasons, because people are important — but I think after a while people will realise that there are many other things you can connect to via the web.”

 

(Purpose of the Semantic Web):
“It’s about creating a seamless web of all the data in your life.”

 

(Basic explanation of how the Semantic Web he envisions will look):
“In the semantic web, it’s like every piece of data is given a longitude and latitute on a map, and anyone can ‘mash’ them together and use them for different things”

 

(Example uses of the Semantic Web):
“Using the semantic web, you can build applications that are much more powerful than anything on the regular web… One expected application is in the pharmaceutical industry, where previously unconnected pieces of research into a drug or disease, say, could be brought together and assimilated.” Another example frequently given is of “typing a street address which, if it had “semantic data” built into it, would link directly to a map showing its location, dispensing with the need to go to a site like Google `maps, type in the address, get the link and paste it into a document or e-mail”.

 

“Imagine if two completely separate things — your bank statements and your calendar — spoke the same language and could share information with one another. You could drag one on top of the other and a whole bunch of dots would appear showing you when you spent your money. If you still weren’t sure of where you were when you made a particular transaction, you could then drag your photo album on top of the calendar, and be reminded that you used your credit card at the same time you were taking pictures of your kids at a theme park. So you wouldd know not to claim it as a tax deduction.”

 

(In response to the Security threats that may be posed by all the inter-connected data within the Semantic Web):
“One option is to build systems which more effectively track what information you’ve used to perform a particular task, and make sure people aren’t using their authority to do things that they shouldn’t be doing.”

 

 

That may very well prove to be one of Google’s strategies (if not their best strategy), and they certainly seem to be making moves in this direction, if their latest YouTube announcement is any indication of their services’ future roles as intermidiary data housing and providing applications or even middleware seems to indicate. In Yes, You Too Can YouTube, Forbes’ Andy Greenberg describes the new role that YouTube may play in the online video market, and the potential of a shift in the mindshare it enjoys with even its most loyal users. The announcement means that independent, third-party content providers, producers, communities and other content aggregators, will now be able to “legally” pull in large quantities of YouTube data, and certainly much more so than was previously possible through the limited Developer API. It also seems to put the spotlight on Google’s new shift in focus to In-Stream and TV-style advertisements with its recent announcement of its In-Stream AdSense program. An interesting turn of events indeed, Google on the surface seems to be giving something away, but an important question to consider is: “What do developers give up in depending on YouTube as a video platform?”

 

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All this talk of the power of integrating applications, freeing up of data and APIs is excellent news for producers of Widgets, which are essentially third-party applications designed to run within another application’s core site or service. The cliched example is Facebook, with its Short-Head (reverse Long-Tail) effect. There are many Facebook Applications, over 9000 at the time of this article, covering everything from Zombie Biting and Sheep Throwing to more useful noise such as iLike’s music preference management and recommendation or Slide’s FunWall which enables Videos to be embedded and played within the comfort of your familiar Facebook Profile).

 

In Future Bright for Widgets, Say Media Execs Mike Shields reports on the McGraw Hill Companies’ Media Summit in New York on March 12. There Dan Riess, vp, marketing and ad solutions, Turner acknowledged that as content becomes more and more portable, “It’s increasingly hard for sites to expect users to come through your door.” Yet that often means a loss of control, and often, some sort of “revenue share situation. That isn’t as exciting for a media company.”

 

One company having some success turning widgets into dollars is Slide, whose SuperPoke!, FunWall and Top Friends – Facebook applications give the company a user base of 170 million uniques, according to Kevin Freedman, Slide’s vp of finance & operations. Freedman went on to comment in the report that “application/widget creators like Slide have something highly compelling to offer advertisers: ‘an amazingly rich set of data’, implying that they can target things in a much better way.”

 

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We’re not really sure whether or not this is what AOL is up to, as TechCrunch reports that AOL Is On A Bender – And KickApps May Be Next Acquisition.

 

Seems like AOL’s not really sure where its going, but it knows it wants a big slice of the Widget pie.

 

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Last, but certainly not least, in case you didn’t get enough about the strike, or you sort of miss all the gossip and news coverage related to the talent and the big-shot executives duking it out, there could be ALOT more where that came from, as discussed in:
Hot Summer Ahead? TV Advertisers Could Sweat Actors’ Strike

 

In the TVWatch blog update, Wayne Friedman of MediaPost’s TVWatch discusses the looming Screen Actor’s Guild of America strike which could come as early as June 30th of this year! There seems to be a pattern forming… we like it… STEP UP!!!

 

One can’t help but wonder, who’s next? The various production units must be poised to strike one by one. Is there a Cameramen’s Guild of America? How about Lighting? Sound? Stage crew? Costume Design? Makeup? Special Effects? Storyboarding? After-effects? Key Grips?

 

Better yet, who are GRIPS and what do they do? I think it’s something related to ensuring the props are in place, either that or they Grip the actors’ hands off-camera when they get nervous for a big scene? Or maybe they’re just really big bald dudes named Ronald that Grip your ass when you can’t hit a scene? I know that would motivate me to know my lines so as to not get my ass gripped profusely.

 

Ahhh… Sorry, I got distracted, anyway… point is, where does it end? Doesn’t all this striking equate to a revenue-sharing model for content production and consumption? We are willing to bet it does.

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BC$ = Behavior, Content, Money

The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:

1. We regularly hand over our browser histories, search histories and daily online activities to companies that want our money, or, to benefit from our use of their services with lucrative ad deals or sales of personal information.

2. We create and/or consume interesting content on their services, but we aren't adequately rewarded for our creative efforts or loyalty.

3. We pay money to be connected online (and possibly also over mobile), yet we lose both time and money by allowing companies to market to us with unsolicited advertisements, irrelevant product offers and unfairly structured service pricing plans.

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