Narain is the founder & CEO for 360 Degree Interactive, a web services firm based in Chennai, India. This blog is about his personal views on Web 2.0, RoR, Social networking,Digital media, interactive advertising, SaaS, Service Oriented Architecture, India Inc, rural education, Web standards, mobile 2.0 and more.

Saturday, December 2

FOAF: Step in Semantic Web

As a Web 2.0 junkie, there are many things we can speak about loud. There buries the truth of "realistic web" but verbal skyscrapers of what's possible with Web 2.0, and how Web 2.0 will change the world. Today's web is a massive network of disgruntled pieces of information. We have just started to assemble the vast information and data in varied structures like XML,RDF, Wikis and more. Semantic Web is the realistic, true genuine answer to the growth and potential to web. Semantic Web as a concept which is detailed in this TR Article, goes beyond traditional way of connecting networks to machines, but moves beyond to make some "real smart meaning" out of the network. MIT is working on this interesting concept of 'Piggy Bank'.

While reading this article [What comes after Web 2.0 - Technology Review] , i bounced upon FOAF, and really is impressed with the direction it takes towards 'Semantic Web'.
FOAF (Friend of a Friend) is a project for machine-readable modelling of homepage-like profiles and social networks. At the heart is a schema for defining relationships between people, and various attributes such as name, gender and interests. To enable linking, each record includes unique identifiers for each friend.
Instead of breaking your head on the markup, schema part of it, there are already neat FOAF-a-matic auto generators available to create to publish FOAF profiles in your blog. This to me looks like what XFN, which was taken seriously couple of years before by Jeffery Zeldman and other designers, whom i know. Closely coming to the same is Microformats hcard.

FOAF, XFN, hCard among other things are needed to create a larger, dataset of information portability on the web. There will definitely be issues like privacy protection. To be fair and honest, the moment you install, Google Desktop, your privacy is already been sold to Google :) What is needed is a structured, disciplined way of sharing information across multiple systems and mediums. Semantic web should be taken as a concept, not just pertaining to the "browser-centric" version of the web, rather it's a larger-than-pc-enabled web to a more detailed distributed databank. There will always be debates, arguments for and against for everything of this sort. But what is more important is that there can be a universal identifier for information, enabling true, real semantic web, where the web will be smart enough to understand about "Me" and deliver relevant results to my contacts. It also needed to be considered seriously to make Web 2.0 applications, more 'web native' and deliver better communication, than merely an Ajaxified user interaction.

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At 8:30 PM, Blogger tpraja said...

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