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Google Hummingbird: The coming of Web 3.0/ Semantic Web

Posted in Internet and Search, Semantic Media and Web, Semantic Web by Manas Ganguly on September 28, 2013


On its 15th birthday, Google unveiled the “Hummingbird” algorithm which is touted as the most radical change to the Google Search engine over the last 13 years. The last major upgrade to Google Search was the “Caffiene” and this update is likely to effect 90% of Google’s search results throwing the SEO/SEM industry topsy turvy. As users upgrade to more complex search strings, “Hummingbird” searches for a context in every search as against its 15 year old formula of matching keywords. Deep down in the core, the latest changes “hummingbird” is a subtle shift in terms of addressing the web in terms of semantics – the context.

For instance – a search query such as “Did FBI plot JFK’s death?” would throw up results based on matching the whole sentence (Priority 1), and then throw searches on “JFK” and on “FBI” – the later results only throwing results on Kennedy and FBI. The Hummingbird however understands the semantics behind the query – and is going to respond in terms of “Did FBI plot JFK’s death?” to “Other conspiracy theories around JFK’s death – to what has been FBI’s stand on JFK’s death through the years. It might throw up a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis or an Edgar Hoover for instance. All a part of a semantic schema.

Or for instance “Pizza in Delhi” would throw up Pizza options but also could throw up options such as newly opened Mexican restaurant serving Burritos or likewise. An earlier execution of the same query would throw up – Pizza, Dominos, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut – all and only Pizzas. The “Hummingbird” would understand the context – a snack or a meal to mine results.

Thus, these changes could also drive up the price of Google ads tied to search requests if websites whose rankings are demoted under the new system feel they have to buy the marketing messages to attract traffic. However more importantly, this is a significant shift to a more context aware web – understanding the semantics – and a vertical integration of the search results. I call this Web 3.0 or Semantic Web. Whats your take?

Web 3.0 is here! (And we don’t see it yet!)

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on December 11, 2011

Web 3.0 is here in earnest except that many understand it yet much less seeing it. The equation is akin to the discovery of Web 2.0 which happened in 2006-2008 although it had started earlier in 2002-04 era. Many people did not realize what Web 2.0 was until they were at the height of it. However in all earnestness, capabilities of the Social Web had already been set out years before the peak.

In a very similar manner, Web 3.0 powered by semantic and meta-data is establishing its roots thick and fast and the current businesses are oblivious to its disruptive capabilities. As Internet outgrows search, Semantic is the new key for information search, personalization and delivery all rolled up into a contextual format. A few are investing into understanding and preparation for the onslaught of Web3.0 (Schema.Org by Yahoo, Google and Facebook for instance) and the technologies there-of (HTML5). Also known as Semantic web, the technology promises to transform the web into an ultimately connected experience in which a machine has as much awareness of the content as a human.This is equally if not more significant to the social revolution of web 2.0.

The evolution of Web3.0 is contingent on the technology pervasiveness on three fronts: Use Case, Technology and User Experience.Here is how Semantic Web/Web 3.0 is impacting the three fronts:

Use Cases, Technology evolution and a better user experience- These are the three cornerstones for technology impact and reach. Web 3.0 already qualifies overwhelmingly on this count and its only a case of crossing the chasm sooner or later on Geoffrey Moore’s Timing to market entry paradigm.

Putting it all together, the potential is there for a much larger wave of technological and cultural innovation now, than at the beginning of Web 2.0. Not only is this significant enough to be compared to Web 2.0; its bigger!

Also read
Semantic Web: Internet beyond Search and Social
Semantic Media: Future Happening
Defining the Semantic Web

Tagged with: , , The first step to Semantic Web going mainstream

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on June 10, 2011

This post follows the developments around the Semantic Web space which i have been blogging about over the past few months.

In a significant development, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have teamed up to index and define an interconnected vocabulary of terms that can be added to the HTML mark-up of a Web page to communicate the meaning of concepts on the page. The initiative is called The move represents a major advance in a campaign initiated in 2001 by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, to enable software to access the meaning of online content—a vision known as the “semantic Web.” By tagging information, Web page owners could improve the position of their site in search results—an important source of traffic. The approach is modelled on one of the more straightforward methods of describing the meaning of a Web page’s contents. Being backed up by the biggest search engines, Schema has a very powerful Launchpad and provided that it can index right and more importantly learn from crowd intelligence and add to its vocabulary, this could be the birth of Semantic Web.

This data can be used by any software to cross-correlate things that are related, or to understand the relationship between information from different sources. Semantic information might improve artificially intelligent assistants or tools able to make good recommendations.

Independently Google is working on a Authorship mark-up options which indexes information on the web in terms of its creator. Google supports this by it +1 feature, a revised Panda search algorithm and a news algorithm.

While still waits to have a affiliation from W3C, which the big 3 search engines have by-passed currently to unveil this semantics project and there are some code and mark-up led incompatibilities, definitely is a move towards integrating intelligent web services to further the consumer experience.

Semantic Web: Internet beyond Search and Social

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, Semantic Media and Web by Manas Ganguly on June 9, 2011

As Internet outgrows search, Semantic is the new key for information search, personalization and delivery.

With the advent of Social Web (Web 2.0), an amazing amount of online information continues to get created, and content continues to expand at its breathtaking pace. There are over 140 million tweets being posted every day, 48 hrs of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and more. Internet users would need tools to help them sort out data for them according to whats relevant and pertinent to them. It’s going to be harder and harder to find information because there’s so much out there. Without a mechanism of data sorting and discovery a lot of the information will never be used and most and all traffic will congregate in a few sites only.

A good index of sorting out the information overload would be data relevance, personalization and customization basis the user, his context, his profile and the social networks that he is a part of. I have in earlier posts discussed about the applications being the best deliver medium for the future internet: always on, always connected, active, learning, mobile, dynamic, intelligent and platform agnostic. Content that is customized for a particular individuals’ preferences can be chosen and presented in a variety of ways. Apps learn what users like and gets smarter as they use it. Semantic web leverages ontologies and meta-data to build paradigms of user online behavior and customizes the internet experience according to the user.Thus Semantic web moves users very quickly toward a world in which the Internet is showing us what it thinks users to see, but not necessarily what users need to see.

Thus, the same Google search performed by two different users could turn up entirely different results, as the search giant tweaks its suggestions on each individual’s behavior. Personalization can also require sacrificing privacy: customization works best when users are willing to hand over data about what they click, how long they spend reading it, what sites they follow, and more.Users, on their part, will be comfortable allowing apps to track them as long as companies prove giving up some privacy delivers better, more helpful services. People are willing to share more and more information if they see that they’re getting value out of it.

Semantic Media: Future Happening

Posted in Semantic Media and Web by Manas Ganguly on May 26, 2011

Continued from an earlier post on Defining Semantic Web.

Mobile marketing as is and would still be the tip of a greater phenomenon that at this point of time, i would call Semantic Marketing Media, an extension of the concept Semantic Web, or Web 3.0, which is currently a nascent and “in concept phenomena”.

Mobile Marketing is a larger concept in comparison to Mobile advertisements and Mobile promotions. While both Mobile advertisements and Promotions are deal based, the key for the success of Mobile Marketing will be engaging the consumers and powering branded experiences around user journeys. User Journeys could at this point be defined as Consumer initiated transactions between himself and the company to satisfy any of the following needs: Discovery, Awareness, Experience, Engagement, Context, Transaction, Conversations and Profiles. This is defined as Semantic Media. The ability of mobiles to power such experiences are critical to context and profile based user targeting. The convergence of devices and platforms and technologies enable a whole system of technologies which can target relevant users contextually and enable them to talk to the brand, transact with the brand at different touch-points and in different locational contexts as well as different platforms.

Semantic Media would be the Media 4.0 after Mass Media, Internet Democracy and Social Media. The Internet Democracy and Social Media would also be Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 contemporaries. Semantic Media will be the contemporary of the “Internet of Things”, Web 3.0 thereby getting its name: Semantic i.e Metadata aware Media.

Continued here

Defining the Semantic Web

Posted in Semantic Media and Web by Manas Ganguly on May 22, 2011

Semantic Web was defined by Tim Berners-Lee, the father of World Wide Web. He defines the Semantic Web as “a web of data that can be processed directly and indirectly by machines.” It extends the network of hyperlinked human-readable web pages by inserting machine-readable metadata about pages and how they are related to each other, enabling automated agents to access the Web more intelligently and perform tasks on behalf of users. Many of the technologies proposed by the Semantic Web already exist and are used in various contexts, particularly those dealing with information that encompasses a limited and defined domain, and where sharing data is a common necessity.

The main purpose of the Semantic Web is driving the evolution of the current Web by allowing users to use it to its full potential, thus allowing them to find, share, and combine information more easily. However, machines cannot accomplish all of these tasks without human direction, because web pages are designed to be read by people, not machines. The semantic web is a vision of information that can be interpreted by machines, so machines can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, combining, and acting upon information on the web. The Semantic Web is regarded as an integrator across different content, information applications and systems

Tim Berners-Lee on Semantic Web
I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.

Graphic:The Evolution of Web

Semantic Web in daily usage is referred to as Web 3.0 to express the third generation capabilities of Web in categorizing, indexing and sorting information. With proliferation of data networks prompting a healthy data habit delivered through multiple platforms (Social platforms, Web, TV, Mobiles, Applications and more) and devices ( Smartphones, Feature Phones, Smart TVs, MIDs, Gaming Consoles, Tablets), Web 3.0 will be a great experience generator for customized and relevant consumer experiences.

The ability of the web to analyze meta data will be great for profile focussed, context relevant ads being served. Thus the key features of Semantic Media would be
1. Me-onomy: User is the brand.
2. Active and always on
3. Context and profile aware
4. Presence across platforms and device categories

Semantic Media with its Meta data and WWW-language capabilities could have various interpretation from Web 3.0, Marketing 4.0, Advertisement 3.0, Engagement 3.0, Entertainment 3.0 and more. Semantic Media thus is future that is waiting to happen. Currently in its nascent concept stage, Semantic Media will see threshold by 2015 and go through the roof by 2020.

To be continued

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Semantic Web: The Future is here!

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on April 7, 2011

Web 2.0 interposes the social domain over Web 1.0 (Plain internet: email, websites and others). It seeks to profile a consumer basis different demographic indices and make “intelligent” recommendations.

Web 3.0 will interpose lot of other things (loosely defined as context) along with Web 2.0. One important dimension that will be added to Web 3.0 is mobility and “active” nature. Active means that the Web reaches out to me basis contextually profiled information (As against “passive” where users access internet). Applications that transcend across TV, Web, Mobile, Car Screen and more will be the feature of Web 3.0 also called Semantic web. The focus in Web 3.0 will shift from data and information indexing to personal profiles and context. Thus while Web 1.0 was a well indexed library of resources, Web 2.0 is social indexing of information and resources, Web 3.0 or Semantic Web will be an “intelligent web” that learns and profiles the user and then steps up relevant information to the user as per the context.

Context here will be decided by a combination of engines: Location Based Engines,HTML5, LAYAR, Recommendations, Profiling, Scanners, Sensors and a host of other engines which will personalize the web according to user behaviour.

Computing in its next avatar will be more about media consumption. I would call it “my Media, everywhere”. Thats where Applications, Cloud Computing, High speed networks, NUIs (Like Kinect) and APIs will hold the sway. Thus the future is Semantic web, always on, always connected, always aware of the context and hence user-relevant at all times.

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Profiling Semantic Web (Part I)

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on November 6, 2010

I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.
Tim Berners Lee, 1999

Semantic Web is a group of methods and technologies to allow machines to understand the meaning – or “semantics” – of information on the World Wide Web.

Humans are capable of using the Web to carry out tasks such as finding the Irish word for “directory,” reserving a library book, and searching for a low price for a DVD. However, a computer cannot accomplish all of these tasks without human direction, because web pages are designed to be read by people, not machines. The semantic web is a vision of information that is understandable by computers, so computers can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, combining, and acting upon information on the web. This will be accomplished by the availability of machine-readable metadata that would enable automated agents and other software to access the Web more intelligently. The agents would be able to perform tasks automatically and locate related information on behalf of the user.

These technologies include a variety of data interchange formats, notations and the Web Ontology Language, all of which are intended to provide a formal description of concepts, terms, and relationships within a given knowledge domain. These technologies are combined in order to provide descriptions that supplement or replace the content of Web documents. Thus, content may manifest itself as descriptive data stored in Web-accessible databases, or as markup within documents, XHML and XML. The machine-readable descriptions enable content managers to add meaning to the content, i.e., to describe the structure of the knowledge we have about that content. In this way, a machine can process knowledge itself, instead of text, using processes similar to human deductive reasoning and inference, thereby obtaining more meaningful results and helping computers to perform automated information gathering and research.

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