Semantic Suggestion

New Search “Signage” Fills the Gap Between Now and Later

On 9/28 the Hakia blog post stirred the pot of interesting semantic web issues–my essential takeway: are we at a point in which we are technologically mature enough to handle SW, or are our behaviors and satisfactions attached to technology (current search engines) too rooted to the Now?

Dr. Berkan proposes that SW is not an “if” but a “when” an undeniable force in the evolution of search.

This got me thinking about a couple current search tools that offer a wide range of semantic suggestion, search add-ons that point in the direction of SW:

  • Keyword search suggestion has been offering syntactic, sometimes clumsy semantic suggestions for awhile now–you start typing a word in the search box and a drop down menu offers increasingly granular suggestions with each passing keystroke–can be quite distracting, but seriously indicative of the wild assortment of search terms people use. Maybe we will reminisce about it someday–it’ll become an ancient and primitive syntactic tool–like cave hieroglyphics (though some would likely argue for the sophistication of hieroglyphics).
  • Answer Tips, from Answer.com. I just experienced a webpage enabled with Answer Tips. I can double click on any word on the page and get a spam-free pop-up window from Answer.com that defines, describes, and otherwise offers a range of encyclopedic and dictionary reference–for ANY WORD ON THE PAGE.

Answer Tip window

  • Hakia’s ScoopBar makes it possible to semantically manage data. It involves downloading to the Firefox browser, but promises highlighted webpage text, and the Scoop tool allows users to save results in offline folders accessible later. This is a bit like Google Notebooks, but in an offline format. (I have not used ScoopBar yet, and I’m curious b/c I’ve tried G Notebooks on a couple occasions to see if I could find a more convenient and intuitive way to corral a lot of research data. But the task has just seemed more cumbersome than convenient.) So ScoopBar semantically manages, semantic results.
  • Google Maps allow users to personalize–overlay data in various formats that can be accessed via place markers. Click or mouseover a map placemarker and a pop-up data window opens like a new stratosphere of semantic information relative to a geographic location. G Maps can be made public, usable by the wider web search audience.

One syntactic foot in front of the semantic other.

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Higher Order: Google-Facebook Mashup, Anyone?

Social networking sites do provide working models of disparate interconnectedness.

The Atlantic features a smartly titled article, About Facebook–as important as Google at “ordering the web”? hmmmm. Originally launched as a campus tool to connect college students, Facebook has all but busted out for everyone now. I won’t argue its powers to order or the smorgasbord of mini applications being gobbled up for personal pages. But as far as organization of data, doesn’t any type of directory possess some mettle in the information management department?

Maybe my biggest beef with the notion is that Facebook must still inspire membership, must convince me that it’s useful in ways better than any process I have installed in my life right now. Interested parties must “buy into” the business, create a login and profile and actually provide information to order. FB’s new public search remains limited and FB members may block their profiles and information at any time. As far as I can foresee, member privatization undoes the site’s ability to access pockets of data that could potentially make it as big as Google–if it were possible.

I have to say I don’t use Facebook. I don’t use any type of social networking site, per se, and regardless of the millions of users the site may boast, there are still millions that abstain. We do, however, use search engines. So if Facebook is supposedly the next Google, I for one will not be included in any search results, as will not millions of others on a very incomplete (albeit well-ordered) planet of search. Maybe a Google-Facebook mashup?

Build it Yourself

Platform “Porn”

If you like building things, if you love the smell of a hardware store, and you have a quirky passion for the Internet, you’re gonna dig the next big thing…

The Ning Blog gives an excellent and downright sexy explanation of platforms. These application components are right now being made available en masse to users like you and me–non-developers, with maybe enough know-how to be dangerous. Yahoo Pipes is a good example of the future of platform mash-ups, but this is only the tip of the iceberg the barest hint at the types and directions of growth rushing head-on:

  • semantic
  • commercial
  • communal

–a true cyber web of bartered cyber nuts and bolts that is hands down HOT! If the Food Network can have its food porn and real estate can have its sex appeal, then platform mash-ups are it for application and internet development.