Interesting article on the Semantic web from Times Online
Google could be superseded, says web inventor The next generation of web technology is likely to be far more powerful than the current crop, Tim Berners-Lee said
Google may eventually be displaced as the pre-eminent brand on the internet by a company that harnesses the power of next-generation web technology, the inventor of the World Wide Web has said.
The search giant had developed an extremely effective way of searching for pages on the internet, Tim Berners-Lee said, but that ability paled in comparison to what could be achieved on the "web of the future", which he said would allow any piece of information — such as a photo or a bank statement — to be linked to any other.
Mr Berners-Lee said that in the same way, the "current craze" for social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace would eventually be superseded by networks that connected all types of things — not just people — thanks to a ground-breaking technology known as the "semantic web".
The semantic web is the term used by the computer and internet industry to describe the next phase of the web's development, and essentially involves building web-based connectivity into any piece of data — not just a web page — so that it can "communicate" with other information.
"It's about creating a seamless web of all the data in your life."
One example frequently given is of typing a street address which, if it had "semantic data" built into it, would link directly to a map showing its location, dispensing with the need to go to a site like Google `maps, type in the address, get the link and paste it into a document or e-mail.
The challenge, experts say, is in finding a way to represent all data so that when it is connected to the web, links to other relevant information can be recognised and established — a bit like the process known as "tagging". One expected application is in the pharmaceutical industry, where previously unconnected pieces of research into a drug or disease, say, could be brought together and assimilated.
Mr Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989 while a fellow at CERN, the European Organsation for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, would not be drawn on the type of application that the "Google of the future" would develop, but said it would likely be a type of "mega-mash-up", where information is taken from one place and made useful in another context using the web.