John Naughton of The Guardian put together a list of 25 things about the web in honor of the web’s twenty-fifth birthday, which falls on March 12. Naughton’s list includes, “(4) Many of the things that are built on the web are neither free nor open. Mark Zuckerberg was able to build Facebook because the web was free and open. But he hasn’t returned the compliment: his creation is not a platform from which young innovators can freely spring the next set of surprises. The same holds for most of the others who have built fortunes from exploiting the facilities offered by the web. The only real exception is Wikipedia.”


Naughton also wrote: “(14) The web would be much more useful if web pages were machine-understandable. Web pages are, by definition, machine-readable. But machines can’t understand what they ‘read’ because they can’t do semantics. So they can’t easily determine whether the word ‘Casablanca’ refers to a city or to a movie. Berners-Lee’s proposal for the ‘semantic web’ – ie a way of restructuring web pages to make it easier for computers to distinguish between, say, Casablanca the city and Casablanca the movie – is one approach, but it would require a lot of work upfront and is unlikely to happen on a large scale. What may be more useful are increasingly powerful machine-learning techniques that will make computers better at understanding context.”


Read the full list here, and come back to SemanticWeb.com tomorrow for a special Semantic Web look at the past 25 years of the Web.


Image: Courtesy Flickr/ luc.viatour