Bob DuCharme recently wrote, “The combination of microdata and schema.org seems to have hit a sweet spot that has helped both to get a lot of traction. I’ve been learning more about microdata recently, but even before I did, I found that the W3C’s Microdata to RDF Distiller written by Ivan Herman would convert microdata stored in web pages into RDF triples, making it possible to query this data with SPARQL. With major retailers such as Walmart and BestBuy making such data available on—as far as I can tell—every single product’s web page, this makes some interesting queries possible to compare prices and other information from the two vendors.” Read more
Thinknum is a startup with the mission: disrupting financial analysis.
In his work as a quantitative strategist at Goldman Sachs, Thinknum co-founder Gregory Ugwi saw firsthand the trials and tribulations financial analysts went through to digest companies’ financial reports and then build their own research reports about their expectations for future performance based on past numbers. The U.S. SEC’s mandate that companies disclose their financial data using XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) was supposed to help them, as well as investors of all stripes and sizes that want to better understand what’s going on at the companies they’re interested in.
“The SEC has mandated that all companies have to release their numbers in a machine-readable format, and that’s XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language),” says Ugwi. The positive side of that is that anyone can now get the stats on companies from Google to Wal-Mart, but the downside is that by and large, they can’t do it in a user-friendly way.
According to a new post by Mariya Moeva on the Google Webmaster Blog, “Since we launched the Structured Data dashboard last year, it has quickly become one of the most popular features in Webmaster Tools. We’ve been working to expand it and make it even easier to debug issues so that you can see how Google understands the marked-up content on your site. Starting today, you can see items with errors in the Structured Data dashboard. This new feature is a result of a collaboration with webmasters, whom we invited in June to>register as early testers of markup error reporting in Webmaster Tools. We’ve incorporated their feedback to improve the functionality of the Structured Data dashboard.” Read more
With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, that’s pretty much the situation many enterprises find themselves in. And it gets harder as more and more documents are stored with and as hard-to-index and hard-to-reuse images. How to address the problem? Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) is trying to make the job easier with its recent introduction of its Automated Conversion System, which takes documents composed of varying visual quality and imagery and converts them into structured data.
Its technology transforms these documents into searchable XML, with extracted metadata, for storing in and access by content-management and other end-user systems.
Semantic web site creation platform Silk, which just received another $1.6 million via an extended seed round investment from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), is adding to its offerings. Silk for Teams brings to organizations, or groups within them, the chance to use its cloud-based platform to build, share, and search across structured collections of data, visualize it, and mix it with unstructured content for all-in-one views of information that previously may have been scattered across multiple applications and documents.
“In really big enterprise IT, you see things like Sharepoint and custom-built infrastructures” for team collaboration, says Silk CEO and co-founder Salar al Khafaji. A lot of smaller teams in companies or startups try to do the same via shared folders and documents, and that’s a gap that Silk wants to close, he says. “It’s surprising how many companies are running so much of their business from something like a shared spreadsheet. It’s a huge limitation but they don’t have the expertise or resources to build their own infrastructures.”
Nara, the service that to date has leveraged its neural networking technology to automate, personalize and curate web dining experiences for users, is making good on its previously-stated intentions to help users find and take action across various consumer lifestyle categories. (See our original story on the company here.)
The company today is adding personalized hotel recommendations to its portfolio. Consumers now will be able to find hotels conforming to their’ “Digital DNA” – the sum of what its technology learns of what they do and don’t like – in 50 high-volume cities in the U.S. and Canada. It’s entered into a non-exclusive partnership with Expedia to take care of booking on the back-end and TripAdvisor for its reviews, with both capabilities available to users without their having to leave the Nara site. The company expects to add additional locations in North America in the future, as it did for its restaurant recommendations.
John McCarthy of The Drum reports, “Google Glass, while not yet on release, has the potential to one day replace the tablet and smartphone, although that day is still many years away, especially while there is a poor battery life and an interface which causes nausea. In order to succeed, Glass will somehow have to deliver more, for less. Despite its limitations, it is a technological concept which could see widespread use, potentially offering countless opportunities for brands and ad firms.” Read more
Start Your Semantic Engines: TrueCar Looks To Foster Transition Of Vehicle Data From Flat To Structured And Enhanced
Back when he was VP and CTO at Hearst Interactive Media, Mike Dunn advocated the use of semantic technologies for media organizations to rocket-boost their control over content, both for internal operations and for presenting a better face to users out there on the web. (See our story with his insights on that here). Now, Dunn has recently made the move to Truecar, an eight-year-young start-up focused on improving the car-buying process. As CTO, his mission is to modernize its data stack.
How do the two worlds of media and automotive connect? “There’s definitely a connection if you think about content as data,” Dunn told The Semantic Web Blog during a few free moments at the recent Semantic Technology and Business Conference. And, TrueCar gets “the importance of data, even though you don’t always have to throw the semantic web [phrase] in there. But things like sentiment-enhancing and context – those are useful words that don’t confuse people.”
Today, says Dunn, much of the data around vehicles, sales processes, and how cars are customized or configured tends to be fairly flat – that is, either unstructured and/or proprietary, but doors open up when it gains meaning — becomes structured, enhanced and openly known and leveraged from an industry perspective. “That transition, which we believe we’ll be able foster, will allow the creation of additional enhancing services to consumers and the industry at large,” he says.
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.
What’s on the menu for semantic technology this week? Two vendors in the foodie field are offering up some new treats.
From Nara, whose neural networking technology is behind a service to help users better personalize and curate their restaurant dining experiences (see how in our story here), comes a new feature that should make picking a restaurant for a group dinner an easier affair. It combines users’ “digital DNA” – the sum of what it learns of what each one likes and doesn’t like regarding dining venues – to serve up restaurant choices that should appeal to the entire group across its range of preferences.
“It’s a really fun way to start getting [the service] into social,” says Nara founder and CEO Tom Copeman.
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