Last night I was at the Semantic Web Launch Party and had a great time and learned a lot (too much). As is with all things in this crazy industry, no matter how much you know or how early you are to the game, you always feel like you’ve missed out on so much. I really feel like a latecomer to the Semantic Web but that’s okay because it isn’t really here yet…or is it?
What is the Semantic Web?
“The Semantic Web is an evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which the semantics of information and services on the web is defined, making it possible for the web to understand and satisfy the requests of people and machines to use the web content.”
Basically, it enables computers to understand what humans are saying or asking for. One quote I overheard last night: “All I want is when I type in ‘Rover’ for it to know whether I’m talking about the Mars Rover or Rover the dog.” This, I think, sums it up nicely. Most of the talk last night was about Semantic Search: being able to type in any question and have the search engine know what you mean. But there was also talk about Semantic Markup, the practice of including descriptive HTML ‘wrappers’ when you’re writing code. This will tell the search engines what to do with this information and will bring us one step closer to Semantic Search.
Semantic Web is already here?
One of the speakers was Christopher St. John who recently (like yesterday) developed Tessera:
“an experiment in wrapping the distributed social web (XFN, FOAF, hCard, etc) with OpenSocial, the API everybody-but-Facebook is using to expose out their social networking platform.”
Tessera goes through the Social Networks that use OpenSocial (LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, etc.) and collects the information that has been shared. He mentions that Facebook does not use this. Christopher doesn’t like the way Facebook has a lockdown on our Social information. Tessera is designed to circumvent the lockdown and free you up to share your information on any Social Network, knowing that it will all be available on Tessera.
The implications for this are huge and I can’t wait to see more. We weren’t able to see a demo because the Boom Boom Room at Union Park doesn’t have wi-fi. No wi-fi at a GeekAustin event? If you think that’s odd then check out this photo:
There’s Christopher sitting down answering our questions, doing a great job of competing
with the ‘artwork’ (That’s me with the bag on my shoulder) picture by Michelle_Greer
Who was there?:
@mirven representing Minggl
@michellegreer taking pictures
@johnerik bringing people together
@cesart preaching Startup District
@cks talking about Tessera
@pspmikek discussing his new Firefox extension called Operator
Who did I miss? Tell the @tracksuitceo or leave it in the comments.