Semantics Where None Had Gone Before

December 20, 2008

My view of semantic technology is that it is plumbing. Users have other tasks to complete so making time to add tags is limited. Technology Review, the nerdy corollary to the Harvard Business Review, published a remarkable article here. “Semantic Sense for the Desktop” by Erica Naone reports that the Nepomuk Project will deliver to me a semantic desktop. Oh, goodie. The idea is that the

the software adds a lot of semantic information automatically and encourages users to add more by making annotated data more useful. It also provides an easy way to share tagged information with others.

No less a luminary than Nova Spivack says to Ms. Naone:

This might be the semantic desktop that actually survives,” says Nova Spivack, CEO and founder of Radar Networks, the company behind Twine, a semantic bookmarking and social-networking service. “There’s a lot of potential to build on what they’ve done.” Spivack notes that other efforts to bring semantic technology to the desktop haven’t succeeded in reaching end users. “Nepomuk is designed for real people and developers…”

Google’s approach, if I read Ramanathan Guha’s five patent documents accurately is that if user, software, and combinations can’t do the semantic tagging job, Google will. The Google does not say too much about semantics, but my inclination is that a system that keeps semantics away from the user may be the one that succeeds. In a race between Nepomuk and Googzilla on whom will you wager?

Stephen Arnold, December 20, 2008


One Response to “Semantics Where None Had Gone Before”

  1. How the WebOS Evolves? | Digital Asset Management on February 4th, 2009 4:06 pm

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