Web 2.0 was all about getting people to connect with one another and establishing a presence for them on the web. Now that you have gotten the chance to get to know each other through the web, it’s time for our computers to socialize. The aim of the next iteration of the web, Web 3.0, is that computers will be able to understand the content and the information they contain. Rather than the data just being a document, it will be put within context helping the computer to relate pieces of information and present them to you accordingly. Therefore, you will no longer have to sift through a pile of search results, some of which are irrelevant, to get the information you want.
While most of the semantic technology is still pretty much underdevelopment and improvement, we at the Thoughpick blog came up with a list to whet your appetite on, in no particular order.
For all the denizens…
- Bing‘s reference search – Bing has a lot of hidden gems, one of those is its use of semantic technology. For Wikipedia results, you can click on the “enhanced view” and browse the Wikipedia article with a nifty vertical menu from within Bing.
Also some searches will provide you the option to “reference” search, which appears on the left pane. By selecting it, you will be able to access relevant Wikipedia articles, image results and more. Try it out, some of the searches that trigger this are Facebook and squirrel monkey.
- Wolfram Alpha – This is an interesting search engine. It recognizes your queries and will bring you relevant information regarding it. For instance, if you put “new york” you will get information about New York city’s population, weather, and location with a couple of other options at the top for disambiguation.
- Twine - The next generation of social bookmarking. Twine tries to understand your interests and comprehend the content that interests you. Then it will scour the Internet looking for similar content to recommend to you. The way it works is that you need to use it for a couple of weeks, bookmarking sites of interest or sending in any relevant email content and that will help Twine tweak your feed so that it contains recommendations based on your interests. And much more will be coming with Twine 2.0.
- Zemanta - Is a browser plug-in that analyzes emails and blog posts that you write by understanding the language used through semantic search to recommend relevant tags, links and related articles. If it wasn’t for the link spamming that it does people would’ve liked it a bit more.
- Google Squared: This is Google’s answer to semantic search engines. Basically instead of getting lists you will get columns of data with each cell filling up with relevant search results. You can add columns and search within cells, or add more items. Go over there and try it out. Do a search of the “US presidents” for example.
- Tripit - If you are a frequent traveler then this site is ideal for you. Tripit takes in your itineraries and your bookings and it creates for you a travel plan that can be shared with friends and colleagues. As an added bonus it also inserts a bunch of useful information like weather, maps and directions to help you make the most out of your time there.
- Swotti - Have you ever had to compare a couple of products and got confused by the mixed opinions you found on the web? Then this site is for you. Swotti collects user reviews and opinions from the web and presents them in a comprehensible manner, and makes the comparison a breeze. Wondering what your next mobile phone should be? Go there and check it out.
- Juice - Juice is a FireFox plugin that might be the answer to compulsive obsessive googlers. Basically the way Juice works is that you highlight a word anywhere on the web and Juice goes to work finding you links on Wikipedia, Youtube and other relevant sites. Really helpful for looking up those little information tidbits.
- Inform - We all tried to view news as interconnected pieces of a bigger puzzle, here is a website that automates that process. Inform gathers the news from online media and information companies. It interconnects and relates news stories and subjects allowing you to have a deeper understanding of them and see the bigger picture.
- Siri (coming soon)- Remember how the future was depicted to be littered with computers and androids acting as personal assistants? Well Siri promises to realize that fantasy and be a virtual assistant that will help you get things done by asking her/him/it to. It will be one more reason to get an iPhone.
For the techie in you …
A little bonus for the ones that like to dig in deeper:
- Reuter’s Open Calais – Open Calais is a tool that helps you generate the meta-data required to give your site the semantic edge. It uses nature language processing to tag and relate your content automatically, so give it a shot at Calais viewer and see if the results are to your liking.
- Triplify - Is a plug-in for web applications that helps expose the semantic structures encoded in relational databases, or in other words “semantify” your web application. Definitely a helpful app when it comes to creating RDF files for your websites.
- Freebase – A Wikipedia for computers; while Wikipedia holds articles Freebase aims at collecting facts and statistics about items and making it available to web applications and people alike. You can use Freebase to create applications that can show you the time line of movies, songs or internet memes or you can create a “This day in history” app.
Are there any great resources that we missed? Which ones do you use? Is there any web application that you are looking forward to use?