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Re: What Happened to the Semantic Web?

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2015 14:27:10 -0500
To: Ruben Verborgh <ruben.verborgh@ugent.be>
Cc: public-lod@w3.org, "semantic-web@w3.org" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-ID: <5643968E.7090309@openlinksw.com>
On 11/11/15 12:25 PM, Ruben Verborgh wrote:
> Hi Kingsley,
> While your main points are correct, I disagree with your conclusion.
> I guess everything depends on what you mean with "The Semantic Web",
> but if I read the article with that title, we're arguably _not_ there.
> In that sense, I find it strange you use Google as an example of success.

I use them as an example because they are providing a platform for
accessing data based on entity relationship type semantics. I
specifically included Custom Google Search (CSE) engine links in my post
to demonstrate this point [1].

Google has a massive index of structured data culled from
HTML5+Microdata, JSON-LD, HTML+RDFa, Microdata, and maybe even Turtle
docs. Access to said indexes is possible via CSEs scoped to specific
Entity Types.

> The fact that the big players are doing something with Linked Data,
> is not necessarily a success, as they have much larger means than most of us.

Of course that's success, especially when it doesn't end up in some
guarded silo. Google is providing access to this data, and its is clear
that access fidelity will increase over time, for sure.

Google's actions ensure all their competitors will take note and follow
suit. Watch out for the Deep Linking App indexing promised by Microsoft
in regards to Services (Apps) and Actions.

> For me, the Semantic Web vision has always been about clients.

I think the "Semantic Web" has always been about "The Web" (clients and
servers) :)

> It's a democratic principle of publishing and consuming data:
> everyone can say anything about anything,
> but everyone should also be able to consume that data.

Of course, and that's happening on a level that surpasses what we had
15+ years ago. Put differently, the actions of behemoths like Google
make it a zillion times easier to articulate and demonstrate "Semantic
Web" virtues.

> At the moment, consuming seems only within reach of the big players,
> who have the capacity to do it otherwise anyway.

No, you can craft a CSE yourself right now and triangulate searches
scoped to specific entity types. Is this perfect? Of course not, but its
a zillion times better than zilch!

> In what sense did we succeed then?

Fundamentally, by virtue of the following actions:

[1] Schema.org support
[2] JSON-LD notation support -- this is a massive bridge between many
Semantic Web world views that failed to converge
[3] Integrating Schema.org into Custom Search Engine service.

> To me, The Semantic Web is like Google, but then run on my machine.

To me its just a Web of Data that includes entity relationship type
semantics that are comprehensible to both humans and machines. I can
start exploration and discovery of data, information, and knowledge from
my personal device (watch, phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, server etc..)
by simply looking-up a hyperlink.
> My client that knows my preferences, doesn't share them,
> but uses them the find information on the Web for me.
> I still hope to see that. Then, we might be there.

The Semantic Web is here. Evolution will continue as part of its
innovation continuum, naturally  :)

> Best,
> Ruben


[1] https://delicious.com/kidehen/google_custom_search
-- Structured Data docs about Books associated with Semantic Web
-- Datasets associated with Linked Data and RDF .


Kingsley Idehen	      
Founder & CEO 
OpenLink Software     
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Received on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 19:27:35 UTC

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