I have a post this morning on Read/WriteWeb: Semantic Web: What Is The Killer App? which you will likely find interesting if you are following the space.
The main argument that I make in the post is that Search is not the killer application of semantics, instead, the killer app is shortcuting the search. Shortcuts are possible because of the intersection of two things: semantics and context.
The combination of the two allows understanding of what the user is looking. Put it differently, the combination gives us nouns. We know that the person is interacting with information about a book or a stock or a movie. Knowing the noun, leads to the set of verbs. Because it is a book it makes sense to lookup similar books, because it is a stock it make sense to get a quote, because it is a movie it makes sense to watch the trailer.
Nouns imply verbs.
Fascinatingly, we are seeing the rise of the technologies that apply this understanding to the existing web. As I discuss in the post Snap, LingoSpot, Yahoo!, AdaptiveBlue and many others are getting the first generation of contextual semantic applications to the market. This first generation of shortcut and preview technologies is still raw and evolving, but the promise is big.
If these technologies work, at least part of our online experience can be about shortcuts and discovery, instead of being about copy/paste and search. That is a fundamental shift in how we use the web.
I plan a few more follow up articles on the topic, so please stay tuned. In the mean time, join the conversation and tell us what you think about shortcuts and contextual tools.