Amy Plitt of the Daily Traveler reports, “Travel-booking website Skyscanner partnered with 56 experts, including researchers from Google and Microsoft, as well as UK consulting firm The Future Laboratory, to determine what the future of travel might look like. The company released its findings this week, and unsurprisingly, emerging technology will make traveling both easier and more intuitive. The first part of the report focuses on planning and booking trips. According to the experts surveyed, one of the biggest changes will be the development of ‘Digital Travel Buddies,’ virtual companions that will guide you through every step of the process and help you once you’re on your trip. (Think Apple’s Siri, but way better at knowing what you want before you want it.) Read more
Have you checked out the IRS Tax Map this year? If not, what better way to spend April 15 (aside from actually filing those returns, of course).
The IRS Tax Map, as explained here, actually began as a project in 2002, as a prototype to address the business need for improved access to tax law technical information by the agency’s call center workers. These days, Tax Map is available to taxpayers to offer them topic-oriented access to the IRS’s diverse information products, as well. It aims at delivering semantic integration via the Topic Maps international standard (ISO/IEC 13250), grouping information about subjects, including those referred to by diverse names, in a single place.
It was created for the IRS by Infoloom in cooperation with Plexus Scientific and Coolheads Consulting. Infoloom explains on its web site that it lets customers control what is returned by search queries via a topic map approach that lets them extract from existing content information on the topics they need to represent, without having to build a taxonomy of terms, and add specific knowledge to that information as part of the extraction process.
Jeremy Bentley of KMWorld recently wrote, “The age of the Internet has made us accustomed to having all the information we could want readily available at our fingertips – quite literally so, thanks to laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices… Unfortunately, we rarely experience the same level of data accessibility in our workplaces, where internal information assets can be massive and hugely complex—and not at all easy to access search with the pinpoint precision that is usually required to find a very specific document or piece of content. Addressing this challenge should be high on the priorities list of any organization aiming to extract value efficiently from unstructured content. But it is proving to be no easy task.” Read more
Steve O’Hear of TechCrunch reports, “Dublin-based Seevl has released an API for developers to let them easily add music recommendations and artist data to their apps. The new offering gives app makers access to some of the underlying technology that currently powers the Seevl consumer-facing app, which is a cross-service music discovery offering that gives music recommendations and lets you build ‘mix tapes’, amongst a plethora of music-related features. The Seevl API is powered by the startup’s own music meta-data graph, which itself is built on top of Freebase, Wikipedia and MusicBrainz, and uses Seevl’s in-house semantic technologies and recommendation and search algorithms — both founders, Alexandre Passant and Julie Letierce, previously worked at the renowned Semantic Web R&D lab DERI.” Read more
Haim Koshchitzky of Sys-Con Media recently wrote, “Enterprise applications can ‘live’ in many places and their logs might be scattered and unstandardized. First generation log analysis tools made some of the log data searchable, but the onus was on the developer to know what to look for. That process could take many hours, potentially leading to unacceptable downtime for critical applications. Proprietary log formats also confuse and confound conventional keyword search. That’s why semantic search can be so helpful. It uses machine intelligence to understand the context of words, so it becomes possible for a Google user to type ‘cheap flights to Tel Aviv on February 10th’ rather than just ‘cheap flights’ and receive a listing of actual flights rather than links to airline discounters. Bing Facebook, Google and some vertical search engines include semantic technology to better understand natural language. It saves time and creates a better experience.” Read more
Yesterday, the Google Webmaster Central blog reported, “We are launching support for schema.org markup to help you specify your preferred phone numbers using structured data markup embedded on your website. Four types of phone numbers are currently supported: Customer service; Technical support; Billing support; Bill payment. For each phone number, you can also indicate if it is toll-free, suitable for the hearing-impaired, and whether the number is global or serves specific countries. Learn how to specify your national customer service numbers.” Read more
Jomer Gregorio of Business2Community recently shared an infographic with eight great facts and statistics about semantic SEO. He writes, “The search engine as we know it is radically changing. From a technical point of view, it is evolving from merely a ‘search’ engine into what can rather be called an ‘answer’ engine. This change is already happening right before our eyes and is slowly but surely being integrated into algorithms – practically changing how search will be done in the future. As a business owner or digital marketer, one must have a clear understanding of what constitutes semantic search and how it will affect the way SEO will operate in the near future. First and foremost would be an understanding of the definitions beginning with the basic workings of a traditional search engine.” Read more
The funding, which amounts to $1,8M will expand SpazioDati’s technology team and improve the capacity of its Knowledge Graph APIs and Semantic Text analysis APIs––both technologies available on SpazioDati’s data marketplace, dandelion.eu Read more
Steven Overly of the Washington Post reports, “Four Washington area companies were crowned winners at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Destination Innovation event Wednesday, bringing an end to a months-long competition that pitted companies against one another in four distinct categories: social, commerce, government and security… McLean-based LMI won the government category for its OpenPolicy product, which makes it easier to sift through massive documents.” Read more
As The Semantic Web Blog discussed yesterday here, the Virtual Personal Assistant is getting more personal. Microsoft officially unveiled Cortana as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone software at its Build event yesterday, and the service effectively replaces the search function on Windows smartphones, both for the Internet and locally.
This statement served as the theme from corporate vice president and manager Joe Belfiore: “Cortana is the first truly personal digital assistant who learns about me and about the things that matter to me most and the people that matter to me most, that understands the Internet and is great at helping me get things done.”
The Bing-powered Cortana is launching in beta mode, and was still subject to a few hiccups during the presentation. For example, when Belfiore asked Cortana to give him the weather in Las Vegas, it reported the information in degrees, and was able to respond to his request to provide the same information in Celsius. But he couldn’t get her to make the calculations to Kelvin. But, he promised attendees, “Try it yourself because she is smart enough to tell you the answer in Kelvin.”
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