As we all know, web 1.0 was where it all started in a totally non-dynamic dial-up ‘go and look for it kind of a way’. Web 2.0 is pretty much where we are now with blogs, social media, push content, broadband, streaming and interconnectivity at every level. Web 3.0 on the other hand seems to take more explaining.
I have actually had conversations with other IT press who don’t seem to know about web 3.0 and the intelligent Rich Internet Applications that are typified by their use of natural language processing, machine-based learning & reasoning and an overall ability to pertain to the syntax of the data being processed.
Logically then, from that syntax, we get the ‘semantic’ web.
With this next tier of cyberspace still in it’s formative years, it is of direct interest (to me at least) to see which companies are taking the lead in terms of both development and design. When a Google search of the term “Adobe’s web 3.0 strategy” does not lead directly to an Adobe Labs web page (check it – it doesn’t) you might start to wonder who is going to lead the march.
Could this be a case of the dot com bubble re-inflating? Will smaller companies drive the new revolution? Will the revolution be televised on web 3.0 live streamed TV? It’s all too early to say isn’t it?
Instead of Microsoft’s Silverlight team mailing me on this subject this week (or Adobe’s for that matter) I did get a nod from a company in a place dear to my heart, Annapolis Maryland, a place I plan to live one day. Somewhere in between the crab shacks and the US Naval Academy lies a company called OpenAmplify who this week opened up an online developer community for collaboration and innovation related to the semantic web. The company says that this is the only generally available web service that can identify sentiment and guidance from text. As such, it is allowing open access to its patented natural language processing technology (NLP).
OpenAmplify says that community members can create new projects or participate in ongoing developments, as well as communicate with other members that have similar interests and affinities.
“Our goal is to help drive towards a more comprehensive web, based on an understanding of the full range of human interactions in content and conversations,” said Mike Petit, CIO of OpenAmplify. “The community will collaborate to create real-world applications, advance academic and applied research and foster an innovative culture.”
As an initial promotion, the company is running a Firefox Gmail Challenge. Lasting until July 16, 2009, users can win cash prizes and other user benefits to create a Firefox add-on that extends the functionality of Gmail using OpenAmplify.
As we know, human beings can use the web to look up the Norwegian for “banana sandwich” and interpret how to use it in the context of a conversation taking place elsewhere. Computers do not posses that degree of contextual and syntactical cognisance. The semantic web 3.0 is a vision of information that is understandable by computers.
For an external opinion on this subject, I used good old web 2.0 technologies (Twitter, email and Safari 4.0.1) to get in touch with Dave McComb who is president of Semantic Arts, a company founded with the aim of specialising in providing enterprise-level application and architectural consulting.
From his iPhone keypad long after official work hours had ended last night McComb commented, “Let's start with what web 3.0 really is. It's a web of data (as opposed to a web of documents or a web of people). Meaning a web of machine-readable data. Meaning turning the web into a huge database that can be queried in an analogous way to querying a database without requiring you to master the schemas of all the sites you'll interrogate.”
“Phase 1 is upon us now. The New York Times today (Thursday June 18) just committed a huge corpus of data to the Linked Open Data cloud. This is several hundred billion assertion codes to semantic web standards. Check out SemanticUniverse.com for the NYT announcement and other background material,” added McComb.
So the ‘semantic web’ then - it is coming; will you be a part of its development? I think it’s great to follow companies that are driving forward in this space even it’s hard to judge their ultimate worth at this stage.