A Guardian post by Jemima Kiss stating that “web 3.0 must be about recommendation and personalisation” has kicked off an interesting discussion around the consumer merits of semantic applications.
Read/WriteWeb’s Josh Catone furthers the discussion by adding:
Personalization and recommendation. That’s the promise of the Semantic Web. The easiest way to sell the Semantic Web vision to consumers is to talk about how it can make their lives easier. When machines understand things in human terms, and can apply that knowledge to your attention data, we’ll have a web that knows what we want and when we want it.
Labels aside, if you’ve been following our posts you know that semantics, personalization, and contextual discovery are dear to our hearts and important pieces of our vision for the potential of the web.
For example, look at what’s happened in the past week. We introduced Web Wide Popularity Rankings; Alex mentioned that “a little push from the bottom-up helps make sense of things top-down”, as a way of explaining how the new BlueOrganizer that’s in beta make sense of annotated information to provide a richer browsing experience; and Fred discussed the benefit of Smart Profiles.
The potential for combining the contextual understanding of objects with personalization is great. The benefit to the end user is a better web experience.
Here’s a quick look at how the pending BlueOrganizer starts to realize some of the potential.
I just surfed over to a book on Amazon and BlueOrganizer identified automatically that the object on the page was a book, with the icon subtly changing to communicate the recognition.
Clicking on the menu I’m presented with options around this particular book. I can, in a single click, find it on Worldcat or buy it on Chapters.ca. I can save it to Delicious, or my Shelfari account. I can also post it to Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.
Now there are a few things that are interesting about this:
1) The menu is personalized to my browsing preferences (automatically). I do my book shopping on Chapters.ca, I save things to Delicious and I post things to Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. These preferences were surfaced implicitly.
2) The menu options are targeted. Because BlueOrganizer identifies the specific book it takes me to the book’s page on Worldcat, Chatpers, Shelfari, etc. Also, secondary traits are recognized as well making it easy, for example, to find more books by the same author.
3) The menu is context specific. Had I been looking at a movie the options would have been tailored around a movie (rent this movie, read reviews, watch clips). Again, all options would be personalized and targeted.
Now, this is obviously a small example that highlights the potential of things to come but it does start to show just what’s possible when context and personalization are paired together.
We’re surfacing the meaning of everyday objects - books, movies, music, etc. and are creating contextually correct, personalized, connections for users. This is just the start of what’s to come but we’ve made great progress so far and are excited to deliver benefit through the emerging web of things.
As Darren wrote, the future of the web “is about context and personalization. Data and information when you want it, where you want it, and how you want it.” It’s fun to be developing products that start to realize this potential.
Want to join the adventure and see what’s emerging? Add the SmartLinks plugin and bring semantic understanding to the basic element of the web, the link. Or grab one of our 50 widgets for your sidebar.
And if you want in on the private beta drop me an email fraser[dot]keltonATgmail[dot]com.