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  • Joe 11:00 on July 22, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: ecommerce, Google, microformat, , , Search, Search Engine Optimization,   

    Semantic Web Technology for SEO 

    SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 1:  Cars drive down 6...
    Image by Getty Images via Daylife

    Since the early days of Sematic Web I have been expecting that this technology would become very important for Search Engine Optimization.

    Until recently, however, the most important component for this to happen has been missing: the major search engines completely ignored RDF and other semantically enriched markup.

    This as changed now finally Yahoo and, more recently, Google announced to analyze and index rich mark up like microformats and RDFa.

    Just today I stumbled upon a nice article by the E-business and Web Science Research Group of the Universität der Bundeswehr München titled GoodRelations and Yahoo SearchMonkey with five very practical examples how to enhance your web pages for better relevance in the Yahoo search index.
    They make use of RDFa and the GoodRelations Web Ontology.

    This is all very exciting and I expect way more to come!

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  • Joe 11:25 on May 30, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Google, Google Wave, Instant messaging, Privacy, Scott McNealy, Search Engines, , Targeted advertising   

    Biggest business advantage for Google Wave? 

    google wave logo
    Image by liako via Flickr

    Alexander van Elsas compiled an excellent list of 10 reasons why Google just reinvented online communication. You should read that blog post now, if you haven’t already!

    I do agree that Google does Wave the right way – it’s all about openness, Alexander’s points 2 and 3 should make most critical users and developers happy.

    But then Google still has the business advantage of having all aggregated data in their silo’s – they will be the exclusive owner of virtually all communication data in the world. This gives them enormous business advantages in terms of finding out what people are discussing, right now. All this can be put in perspective with data mining of all previous communication. The logical exploitation is ever more targeted advertising (adding location, local time, mood, communication partners and such to the expression). But being able to watch real time trends in high resolution, fine grained up to the user level in the context of their social network will likely enable entirely new business models, which we can not even imagine right now.

    Does this matter for the individual user?
    Maybe, privacy is potentially at risk even more than it is now. Whatever will happen, great power comes with great responsibility and the slogan “do not evil” applies more than ever before.

    At the same time I’m really excited to see this happen and will most likely join Wave as soon as it becomes available.

    What did Scott McNealy say again? “You have zero privacy anyway, get over it” . And that was ten yars ago.

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    • Joost van der Borg 11:29 on May 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      “But then Google still has the business advantage of having all aggregated data in their silo’s ”

      This is not true, you could run your own ‘wave’ server, use a non-google client and data wouldn’t ever make its way to Google (just like e-mail today). Ofcourse, being the first to offer it, many people will probably stay with google.

    • Joe 11:36 on May 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      @Joost Sure, you could…

      You could run your own laconica server instead of Twitter (and still plug into Twitter, just like identi.ca does). But who does?

      Still, you are right and I completely agree that google does it “the right way”. With that sentence about data silo’s I meant what you say: Google has first mover (and biggest player) advantage and will likely keep that unless the seriously mess up.

  • Joe 16:03 on February 3, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , g1, Google, , , Sony Ericsson   

    Google Android op T-mobile G1, eerste indruk 

    Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...
    Image via CrunchBase

    Please note, this blog post is in Dutch (translate).

    Mijn eerste indrukken na een paar dagen spelen met de Android powered HTC G1 (door T-Mobile ook wel “Googlephone” genoemd). Voornamelijk vanuit de mogelijkheden op internet gebied, en vergeleken met mijn oude Sony Ericsson 810i (SE).

    Direct bij het eerste opstarten krijg je een melding dat de telefoon het best (of alleen maar?) met een google account gebruikt kan worden. Ik heb niet geprobeerd wat er wel/niet mogelijk is zonder google account, maar ben meteen ingelogd met mijn Google Apps account.

    Adresboek en agenda
    Het blijkt meteen waarom dat google account zo belangrijk is: dit is namelijk de enige manier om adressen en agenda’s te synchroniseren met de G1. Via Bluetooth wordt geen enkele uitwisselings-functie ondersteund, via de USB kabel blijk je alleen bij de externe flash kaart te kunnen en niet bij het telefoon geheugen zelf. Dat betekent vanzelf ook geen iSync vanuit Mac OSX en geen uitwisseling met Addressbook en iCal.

    Die synchronisatie zal dus via google moeten lopen, om dat te configureren is niet helemaal triviaal:

    Op de SE werkte iSync juist vlekkeloos, alleen groepen van adressen en agenda’s werden niet ondersteund.

    E-mail
    Op de G1 zijn er twee ingebouwde opties voor email: een gmail client die onberispelijk werk in alle opzichten, en een meer traditionele email client die je simpel kan configureren met je mail account gegevens. Het gebruik van IMAP over SSL is hier geen probleem, je kan de betreffende instellingen en poort nummers makkelijk invoeren. Er is alleen een groot gebrek aan deze mail client: er wordt geen IMAP IDLE ofwel push email ondersteund. De SE mail applicatie deed dat wel, al ruim twee jaar geleden (alleen was het daar nodig om voor de mailserver van XS4ALL een apart SSL certificaat te installeren).

    Web browser
    De ingebouwde webbrowser is niets bijzonders, werkt zoals het hoort en zelfs de javascript ondersteuning is acceptabel. Alleen de user interface is te beperkt, navigatie gaat alleen redelijk via obscure toetsenbord commando’s.

    Op de SE was een oudere versie van Opera Mobile meegeleverd, maar met wat kunst en vliegwerk bleek het goed mogelijk om de actuele 4.x versie te installeren. Die browser heeft zelfs zonder touch screen een prettigere user interface.

    Verder is er ook slecht nieuws voor wat betreft de mobiele versie van Firefox, Fennec, die juist als eerste alpha release beschikbaar is. Het ziet er niet naar uit dat die ooit voor Android beschikbaar komt doordat Android alleen Java applicaties ondersteunt (en Fennec is in C/C++ ontwikkeld).

    Muziek speler
    De ingebouwde Walkman software van de SE was – na mijn iPod – een belediging, ik heb die nooit gebruikt. Sony heeft destijds een leuk apparaat voor cassettebandjes gemaakt, daar hadden ze het bij moeten laten.

    De ingebouwde music player voor Android is een hele verademing. Prettig dat er niet te veel opties zijn, dat houdt het wel overzichtelijk. Alleen kan ik me geen uitgebreide bibliotheek in het ding voorstellen (maar dat gaat ook niet op 8G Flash, max. 16G).

    Camera
    De 2M pixel camera van de SE is niet veel bijzonders. Maar wel beter dan de 3M pixel camera van de G1! Het beeld is vaag, met vale kleuren en de lichtgevoeligheid is zeer beperkt. Verder kan de G1 met de huidige Android versie geen filmpjes maken (de SE wel, al zijn die het aanzien niet waard). Waar de SE het met een simpele witte LED moets doen als verlichting, heeft de G1 helemaal niets. Donker is gewoon pech gehad.

    Android Market: applicaties
    Dit is het grote verschil tussen de G1 (ok, en de iPhone) en de rest van de smart phones die momenteel beschikbaar zijn: de open toegang tot het platform voor  ontwikkelaars om applicaties te ontwikkelen en aan de man te brengen. De tegenghaner van de Apple’s App Store is de Android Market.

    (More …)

     
    • René 19:34 on February 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Prima verslaggeving van de eerste Android-impressies. Succes met het ontwikkelen van applicaties!

  • Joe 11:26 on April 4, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: artificial intelligence, basic semweb technologies, central blog site, data smarter vs make software smarter, Google, internet ventures, Leah Culver, netxweb, Nova Spivack, online, pure mathematical algorithms, radar networks, , real estate brokers, , , , social networks, software builds, twine, twones, Twones.com, Web approach   

    The NextWeb 2008 (day one) 

    Although last year’s NextWeb conference had good coverage in the blogosphere, this year everything has been professionalized around the yearly event. One of these improvements is the nextweb.org, which has become a central blog site where professional bloggers keep up with the developments around new internet ventures.

    You can read about all noteworthy and sometimes even anecdotal events there, so I limit myself ot some personal observations at this place.

    Noteworthy was the first keynote by Adeo Ressi, “Get Funding for Your Dream“. According to him, now is the best time ever to start a new venture. But at the same time, there are many dangers luring in VC funding, which you should be aware of.

    One of the most central statements: you ore strictly on your own for reviewing the contract terms when it come to closing a deal. Your legal advisor will be honest with you up to the point when you sing a contract with them, as they have just one incentive left afterwards: close the deal and get the percentage of the value you negotiated earlier. Every delay is just wate of time – so forget about honest advice on VC terms.

    This reminds me of the peculiar situation we have with real estate brokers and financial advisers over here: these people all work for a percentage of the deal, so nobody is at your side when it comes to choosing the real best option, let alone a careful review of the terms.

    The rest of the talk was about what to expect when going through the movements, from choosing investors, preparing your references (they will be interviewed, even the unlikely ones, and should always be unconditional positive about you) and, indeed, bad terms vs acceptable ones.

    Interesting – and enlightening – it looks like we are doing pretty well regarding our own startup Twones.com.

    The keynote by Leah Culver of Pownce was charming and gave most of all insight in the networking aspects of starting a online business. Her suggestion to talk more about the how and why around OAuth was not accepted by the audience. Regretful, I would have liked a quick introduction in this emerging standard as an alternative to all those proprietary solutions for all those social networks.

    Nova Spivack of Twine held the keynote I was looking forward to the most. This time, surprisingly, the audience chose for an introduction into the semantic web, rather than a presentation about Twine.

    And this presentation was well done. No new or surprising elements for those who follow Nova Spivack’s blog (his “CEO blog” at Radar Networks), but I am sure that many people in the audience will have “got it“. And from personal experience I know how difficult it is to explain the relevance of the highly abstract and often complex elements of the semantic web.

    What I liked was the perspective in which Nova places the semweb:

    Tagging approach
    pro: easy to do
    con: easy to do (inconsistence, no “meaning“)

    Statistical approach (Google)
    Pro: pure mathematical algorithms
    Con: no understanding of the content

    Linguistic approach
    pro: true language understanding
    con: computational intensive, scales badly, one domain at a time

    Semantic Web approach (radar networks, dbpedia, metaweb, talis)
    pro: more precise queries (metadadata)
    con: lack of tools, who creates the metadata?

    Artificial Intelligence approach (cycorp)
    pro: this is the holy grail!
    con: never finished and always outdated (the holy grail)
    Now the Semantic Web approach is in the middle:
    Software needs some improvement and you need metadata
    But: advantages add up to a network effect; if I enhance my data, I get the benefit inr eturn that my data now can be linked automatically in all kind of related contexts, especially those I never could imagine myself.

    And this is taking off at an increasing speed, see the updated graph on open, linked data on the web.

    The Growing Linked Data Universe
    Characteristics of the semantic web approach:

    • Make data smarter vs make software smarter
    • Metadata vs AI & linguistics
    • Open data enables network effects

    Approaches:

    • Bottom up (you need to learn RDF and such) – this is not going to happen (note: basic semweb technologies exist since around 2000).
    • Top down: software builds all the RDF and OWL and stuff for you. Not surprisingly, this where Twine aims at.

    Some notes on the practical side. Nova dislikes the term Semantic Web as being to vague, “Web of Data” would be more appropriate. And then, already an old theme, he adapts the popuplar but heavily overloaded term “web 2.0″ to mean “the second decade of the web” en so, web 3.0 as the third decade, roughly 2010 – 2020. So we got a timeline. And right now the early adopters are emerging, the first killer apps will be launched roughly between now and the next two years.

    Finally, a critical not on business models: how do protect my business if all data has to be open and free?

    The bottom line is taht every entrepreneur needs to decide for themselves, but in the long run people will move away from closed environments where they only put effort in, without being able to get the value back of their own data, let alone benefit of the network effect.

    Again, this is an area were Twones will shine: our business model scale along with the network effect, the more open and the more shared each user’s data is, the more value everyone will get out of it.

    Oh, and I got my private Twine invite (looks good, many thanks Nova!).

    Got curious about Twones?

    We will lanuch an invitation only beta at the end of the month, you can register for the beta waiting list at http://www.twones.com

     
  • Joe 15:35 on October 18, 2007 Permalink
    Tags: Google, , , real world applications, screen scraping, , semantic web objects, simplest imaginable solution, web browsers   

    From Microformats to RDF 

    In response to Microformats vs. RDF: How Microformats Relate to the Semantic Web.

    Indeed, microformats are not an alternative for RDF, not even a “poor man’s version”. But that was not a design goal at any time. What’s more: microformats are no first class semantic web objects in any way either. Rather, they are the simplest imaginable solution for semantically correct markup, limited to the most common data formats out there.

    To rephrase the microformats charter, they want to be the common man’s solution, aimed at the well intending webmaster crowd. As such, microformats can be hugely successful (analogue to the “html as tag soup” success story). Fine.

    Next, as we end up having millions of valid items of hCard, hReview and what not on the web, there is GRDDL to instantly promote all this content in full fledged RDF.

    The good news is that we have all components currently available – many microformats are auto-generated from well designed CMS templates – and GRDDL is a Proposed Recommendation since 6 July 2007.

    What we’re waiting for, is a business need to discover, transform and aggregate all of this data. I would be surprised if nobody is working on this, right now. Google, or a Google killer?

    Bottom line: the semantic web has been lacking real world content for too long (not withstanding DBPedia and Freebase and such) and real world applications for the common man. Microformats can and will have a place in advocacy for this large target audience, people who grasp html and basic data constructs, but who are not interested in graph theory.

    This audience will only jump on the bandwagon if they can instantly understand the intent from view source inspection. Compare the success of RSS 2.0 over the semantically superior (but more complex, RDF based) RSS 1.0 version.

    In the end it will just not matter, most content will be “good enough” to be useful for the semweb (through GRDDL transformations and screen scraping), just like today’s html is good enough to be rendered, in some way, in our web browsers. By that time we will have a load of other problems, like semantic spam, the need for provenance tracking and trust levels for semantic information. But that is another story…

    Update:  Semantic Report writes about Using Microformats to Get Started with the Semantic Web. So, there then!

    [ratings]

     
  • Joe 18:24 on May 31, 2007 Permalink
    Tags: , Google, nice photo sharing site, Panoramio.com   

    Google buys Panoramio 

    The Spanish startup Panoramio.com has been acquired by Google. This is not very surprising, as they already were linked very intimately with Google Earth.

    PanoramioFor those who don’t know Panoramio yet, it is a clean, nice photo sharing site. Its specialty is that every photo is geographically marked. Select photos appear on Google Earth and the site itself is organized around Google Maps, where every location marks available photos with an icon or a small thumbnail.

    The announcement in the blog post does not provide many specific details, but for now not much will change:

    For now, our user interface will not change; accounts, urls, features… We will keep working for Panoramio as a team, but this time using Google infrastructure as Panoramio further integrates into Google’s mapping technologies. We will also keep answering e-mails directly as much as possible.

    Oh, and by the way, they also have an API – released just earlier this month…

    [ratings]

     
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