A New Microsoft: Will Semantic Tech Play Key Role In Computer Giant’s Realignment?

There’s a new Microsoft on the horizon.

In his email and memo to Microsoft employees yesterday about the company’s realignment and transformation, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer didn’t use the word semantic, or the term semantic web anywhere, or point specifically to efforts like the company’s role in or the work its Research group has conducted in its semantic computing initiative (ProBase, Contextual Thesaurus, and so on).

But to reach the goal Ballmer states of revising Microsoft’s strategy to “focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most,” semantic technologies aimed at deriving meaning from information seem like they’ll have an important role to play.

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Email Continues To Smarten Up

The trend is underway for email to get smart. Gmail can leverage JSON-LD and  to markup information in emails to support interactions with recipients: an RSVP Action for events, a Review Action for restaurants, movies, products and services; a One-click Action for anything that can be performed with a single click; a Go-to Action for more complex interactions to be completed at a web site, as well as Flight interactive cards to confirm reservations and and trigger a Google Now boarding pass. (See our story here about the addition of JSON-LD markup in Gmail.)

Late last week, the search giant also announced that users in its Google Search field trial now can look up Gmail contacts directly from Search. (Those in the field trial can type or speak in queries to retrieve answers in Search from Google Drive or Calendar as well.) With the Gmail integration enabled, Google says users now can do things like get quick directions to a friend’s house or one-tap access to call a contact just by asking for the person’s address or querying for the phone number.

Not to be left out of the intelligent email picture, Yandex late last week debuted Marker.

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Bing It On: The New World Of Windows 8.1 Search And Intelligent Services

Bing was a big factor on Wednesday at the Microsoft Microsoft Build Conference. For starters, CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 8.1 Preview now is available for developers and users, and, as Microsoft disclosed about a month ago, Bing’s bringing a new way to search to Windows 8.1-powered devices.

It’s been a busy month for Bing, which earlier in June was picked by Apple to bring web search integration to its intelligent personal assistant Siri on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices. Come iOS7, it will automatically deliver the specific answer or web search links to Siri searchers.

But back to Windows.

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Ready, Set, Lightning! 5-Minute Talks at SemTechBiz — Part 2

During the recent Semantic Technology and Business Conference in San Francisco, a motley crew of expert presenters got up in front of a packed room, took a deep breath, and spoke passionately about the semantic projects nearest and dearest to their hearts while the unforgiving clock ticked their five precious minutes away. At the conference I shared highlights from some of those aptly named Lightning Sessions. Here are a few more snappy sessions that captivated the room that day:

Semantic Technology to Shed Light on Big Dark Data with Ben Zamanzadeh, DataPop

DataPop is a startup in the field of semantic advertising. The company seeks to create actionable insights for clients with semantics. As Ben put it, “Ad data is still dark data. Consumer actions are very hard to understand and even harder to predict.” The talk description explains DataPop’s approach: “DataPop’s Semantic Advertising Technology uses Machine Learned Semantic Models to build and analyze advertising campaigns that surpasses conventional advertising capabilities. Composite Semantic Data Models are used to translate Big piles of Data into meaningful entities, then Inference Engines transcribe information such that decisions and strategies can be formed. Semantic Methods has made it possible for us to explain the reasoning behind ‘why’ things happen.” Read more

JSON-LD Added To List of Formats Recommended For Use With

LOGO: Semantic Technology & Business Conference; June 2-5, 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaOn Wednesday, The Semantic Technology and Business Conference will feature as a near-to-the-end session a panel dubbed WebSchemas: and Vocabulary Collaboration. The session, which includes Google’s Dan Brickley as its organizer, is expected to include a discussion of a piece of news announced on Monday. Writes Brickley here: “ is all about shared vocabulary – it helps integrate data across applications, Web sites and data formats. We are adding JSON-LD to the list of formats we recommend for use with, alongside Microdata and RDFa – each has strengths and weaknesses for different usage scenarios.”

Google Talks Structured Data At SemTechBiz

An audience hungry for more knowledge about what Google is doing with structured data got its fill late in the day Tuesday at the Semantic Technology & Business Conference. Jason Douglas, Group Product Manager, Knowledge Graph, presented to the SRO crowd the link between semantic technology and structured data to the changing world of search.

“Search is changing dramatically because users’ lives are changing dramatically,” Douglas said. “We carry our computers with us. The Internet is with us all the time.” While a decade ago the library analogy worked for search, but increasingly users need more on-the-go, just-in-time information. So, today’s search analogy, he said, is more along the lines of the personal assistant – it’s more about giving users answers, and anticipating their needs.

The only way to meet those requirements is for search engines to have an understanding of the real world, to be the virtual equivalent of a real-world personal assistant who knows what and where things are and how they relate to each other. “On the answer side, if we actually know things about the world, it’s not just answering questions [themselves], but providing all kinds of context that helps in different ways,” Douglas said.

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Google’s Next Steps To Build Structured Data Buy-In

Google’s Data Highlighter, its take at making it easier to let the search engine know about the structured data behind web pages, is adding more highlights. Data Highlighter (which The Semantic Web Blog originally covered here) now can teach Google the pattern of structured data about products, local businesses, articles, software applications, movies, restaurants, and TV episodes in addition to events.

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New Semantic Service Aims At Diggng Out The Dollars

Digging out money. That’s the mission of VitalFlux’s ShriGB, which aims to extract meaningful insights from financial Big Data published from various financial portals and make it consumable to users with different needs, from financial brokers to job seekers.

Courtesy: Flickr/aivas14

The app right now is focusing on portals in the Indian marketplace, putting its artificial intelligence to work in its learning phase to create appropriate ontologies, taxonomies and relationships, according to founder and CEO Ajitesh Shukla. The plan is to migrate it to other markets in future. “Once the system starts getting mature, this shall be moved to the global arena,” says Shukla. “It is also understood that different countries financial portals have different ontologies and system may need to get appropriate learning to work appropriately for these countries.”

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Algebraix Data Launches Industry’s First Cost-Effective Automated Implementation of

SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 13, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Algebraix Data Corporation, the semantic web company(TM), today announced the launch of Algebrize(TM), the industry’s first cost-effective automated implementation of With this new W3C compliant Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, SEO agencies can now help website owners significantly increase traffic and conversion rates by improving SEO authority, product detail visibility and click-through rate. Algebrize is the first application of Algebraix’s proprietary and patented technology to power semantic computing. Read more, Learning Resource Metadata Initiative Join Hands In Boost To Educational Content Searches

Courtesy: Flickr/ Sean MacEntee

Earlier this month word came of a revision to Version 1.0a additions, according to this posting from Dan Brickley, include the Datasets vocabulary, and some supporting utility terms for describing types, properties and their inter-relationships. One of the gems in the update are additions related to the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), an effort led by the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons, which has as its goals making it easier to publish, discover and delivery quality educational resources on the web. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation helped fund the work.

With serving as a catalyst for its work, the LRMI developed a common metadata framework for tagging online learning resources, with the idea of having that metadata schema incorporated into With that now the case, it’s possible for publishers or curators of educational content to use LRMI markup and have that metadata recognized by the major search engines.

“One of the reasons why education was one of the first extensions of is that the education industry is going through some very interesting times,” says Madi Weland Solomon, head of Data Architecture Standards at education company Pearson plc, one of the LRMI project launch partners.

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