The Semantic Web—Technology Getting to Know You

IT StrategyThe semantic web looks set to be the Next Big Thing in IT, depending on who you ask. It involves Big Data personalising your web experience to give us not what we search for, but what we really want. Here’s hoping that we want things that are good for us…!

The internet functions using language: to take search as an example, software programs check your (written) keywords against millions of websites to find results for you. In language, the words are the syntax; the letters and words that we arrange to form terms and sentences. Semantics involves the actual meaning behind words—looking at what you mean, and not what words you use. The context, and not the keywords.

The semantic web will examine who is searching for what, where they are, and what time it is. So as an example, searching for the keyword ‘sandwich’ at 7 am might bring up recipes and pictures to inspire you as you make yourself a cut lunch for work, while the keyword ‘sandwich’ if checked at noon might bring up special offers at the sandwich bar or corner shop nearest to your current location.

The semantic web means that instead of focussing on the raw words you use, internet applications must get to know your preferences, likes and habits. It should then be easier for such programs to produce search results, select theatre bookings, or even find cookery recipes that cater to your tastes. This is somewhat analogous to how a personal assistant could become more and more effective with time, as they get to know their employer.

Big Data is key here—providing masses of data on you and scanning your search histories to detect trends and patterns. We’re already seeing advertising on Facebook that is tailored to our gender, age and spoken language, all of which is information we have willingly provided to Facebook.

The semantic web takes this a step further by analysing our online behaviour to respond better to our needs. In future, businesses will need to create web content for their online presence that is more relevant for their target customers. Let’s hope, however, that the semantic web isn’t just hijacked by marketing types—we get enough tailored spam as it is…

If you need any help understanding and adopting new emerging technologies Green Cloud Computers is here to help! We are a leading technology firm in servicing Ashbourne, Ratoath, Meath and surrounding counties. If you have any problems, please call us!