Posts Tagged ‘Google’

I found this introduction to the Semantic Web very informative.

Syntax is how you say something whereas semantics is the meaning of what you say.

(msporny, 2007)

Computers not only reading data but being able to understand it.  Knowing what we like … and, more importantly predicting what we want before we even have to ask is the true value of the Semantic Web.

I believe an example of this is the data detectors in Apple’s OSX, which I utilise on my MacBook just about every day.  If I get an email from someone – say, John – who has asked for a meeting “at 3pm tomorrow in the board room”, the computer sees  the time, date and location and can automatically add an appointment to my calendar, using that data.

Pulling the threads of the Web together and making meaning of the chaos will  revolutionise the way we use the Internet.  Berners-Lee, Hendler & Lassila (2001) predicted the “eventual creation of programs that collect Web content from diverse sources, process the information and exchange the results with other programs.”  This is something websites like Facebook have done for some time now.  However, embracing a public-driven Semantic Web has proven somewhat troublesome.  Following Facebook’s “Open Graph” announcement in May 2010, which included a vision of a consumer Semantic Web, people are sceptical of the company’s intentions.  Read Write Web writer Alex Iskold blogged on May 6 201o that on close inspection “Facebook’s intent is not to make the Web more structured, but instead to engineer a way for more data – mostly unstructured – to flow into Facebook databases.”  It seems Facebook doesn’t want to create a better, more structured Web – Facebook wants to be the Web.

As a postnote, I watched the Google Wave overview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6pgxLaDdQw&feature=player_embedded) explaining what Google Wave is all about … or should I say was all about!  Only this week Google announced it was discontinuing Wave (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/update-on-google-wave.html).  I must admit, I got an invitation to Wave back in December 2009 but never used it.  Watching this video, I can see some of the collaborative benefits of Wave and how it could have changed the way people communicate online.  It was probably a little too complicated.  I have heard a number of smart people saying they didn’t know how to use it, which is possibly why the adoption of Wave has been lower than Google’s expectations.  I think it would have been a much better way to hold Web101 discussions than the hard-to-follow Blackboard Discussion Forums.

References

Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J., Lassila, O. (2001). THE SEMANTIC WEB, Scientific American; May 2001, Vol. 284 Issue 5, p34. Retrieved from http://lms.curtin.edu.au/courses/1/305033-Vice-Chancell-1118175685/content/_1253746_1/dir_Web101.zip/Web101/img/SemanticWeb.pdf on August 7 2010.

Isklod, A. (2010), Does Facebook Really Want a Semantic Web?, Read Write Web, Published May 6 2010. Retrieved from  http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/does_facebook_really_want_a_semantic_web.php on August 7 2010.

Sporny, M. (2007), Intro to the Semantic Web. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGg8A2zfWKg&feature=player_embedded on August 7 2010

Some eye-popping stats in this (admittedly corporate) video.

People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them.  78% of people trust peer recommendations … only 14% trust advertisements.

And…

We no longer search for the news, the news finds us.  In the near future we will no longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media.

Web 2.0 is communication. It’s a conversation. It’s participation. It’s interaction. It’s sharing. It’s community.

I think back to the 90s, when the Internet and the world was a different place. The Internet was like traditional broadcast media, shouting its messages to an audience which was brought up on consuming what was served to them. It certainly wasn’t TIm Berners-Lee’s vision of the World Wide Web, but then, back in those days, dial-up speeds couldn’t sustain the dynamic form of Web 2.0. It was part of the experience to sit and stare at the computer screen, waiting for data to slowly download. Dial-up, wait for the funny sound to let you know you are connected, launch the browser, wait, load the homepage, wait, load the Google homepage (thank God the Google homepage was so sparse and didn’t take much time to load), type in your search, wait, go to the page you wanted ten minutes ago, wait for it to load … still waiting … and there you go! Don’t forget too that Internet Providers charged you by time connected so you had to get on and get off, quick! In my opinion, one of the biggest influencing factors in the shift to a participatory web was not just the increased bandwidth but also taking the clock off Internet connections. I believe it was the fact that people no longer had to watch the clock, freed them to connect, interact and participate.

Author Clay Shirkey summed it up in a Web 2.0 lecture (San Francisco, 2008) when he said media in the 20th Century was all about consumption.  But media really is about production, consumption and sharing.  If people are offered the opportunity to produce and share, they will do it.  If they aren’t, you will lose them.

“Media that’s targeted at you but does not include you, might not be worth sitting still for” (Clay Shirkey, Web2.0 lecture, 2008)

This is the conundrum facing traditional media.  Shirkey talks about a “cognitive surplus” as we emerge from the old consumption model and ways we can utilise that collective thought to create resources and assets that were unimaginable just a few years ago

Very interesting stats and markers from the Nielsen 2010 Social Media Report (March 2010):

  • 9 million Australians now interact via social networks
  • Content sharing is the most popular activity online
  • 4 in 5 Australian Internet users have shared a photo
  • Twitter usage grew by 400% in 2009
  • Nearly 3/4 of Australians read a wiki
  • 2 in 5 Australians interact with companies via social networks
I have known about Delicious for a while but didn’t realise the potential until I signed up as part of this module.  I thought: “I save bookmarks on my computer, why do I need to save them in a cloud?”  I didn’t consider the social nature and benefits of sharing links.  It’s like flicking a light on when suddenly it all makes sense to you.  Same thing happened to me with Twitter when I realised it wasn’t just a way to find out what someone had for breakfast but was in fact a platform for a conversation, a news source and so much more.  Here’s my Delicious account and I’ve linked to my Web101 bookmarks on the left.

MBA Online
Via: MBA Online

Using this link to give a visual representation of the path Internet packets travel to reach a destination.  I tried with a number of websites.  Some interesting results with The Age website, which had a hop to Hong Kong on it’s way back to Australia.

And heading to my favourite cooking website – jamieoliver.com – was just a leisurely 15,525 miles!

Who owns what – whois is a great tool for finding the owner of a particular domain name.  Quick searches revealed flickr.com is owned by the Inktomi Corporation, located in Sunnyvale California. No surprises for youtube.com – owned by Google.  And of course mickey.com is owned by Disney, (as is minnie.com by the way!).  gooogle.com is of course owned by Google – this will redirect anyone who has mistyped google.com to the Google website.  Interestingly, Google doesn’t own goooogle.com – that is a link page owned by THEPLANET.COM INTERNET SERVICES.  Google must think one extra “o” could be a mistype, but two is just plain silly!!