The Google Now intelligent personal assistant service was introduced mid-summer with the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system for the Nexus 7 tablet and a variety of Nexus devices. Originally it was not available for the Samsung Galaxy S3, which offers its voice-enabled mobile personal assistant, S Voice (see story here). But reports began circulating this week that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will come to international Galaxy S III models by next week, and it also was noted in reports during Google Now’s launch that that service could work in tandem with other voice assistants, letting the user choose which assistant to enable.
Google Now, the company says in a video, provides “the predictive power of now. You get just what you need to know right when you need it.” Users can type in search terms or activate voice searches for quick answers to queries for sports team updates, weather forecasts, and the like, getting information back either as voice responses or as text. It reportedly gets an assist from Google’s Knowledge Graph, a database of 500 million entities, to deliver its capabilities.
Just as reports are coming in that venture-backed companies based in Europe recently have raised more money but in a fewer number of deals, word comes from the team at Amsterdam-based Silk that its latest seed round has brought in an additional $1.6 million.
According to new analysis from Dow Jones VentureSource, VC-backed companies based in Europe raised EUR 1.3 billion through 273 venture capital deals during the second quarter of 2012. That marked a 14 percent increase in capital raised but a 20 percent decline in deals from the same period last year, it said. Additionally, second-round deals accounted for 19 percent of deal flow and 18 percent of capital invested, down from 25 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in the year-ago period, it said.
Silk in May 2011 completed a $475,000 funding round led by Atomico, the venture capital firm headed up by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström.
What do you get when you partner up the Schema.org markup vocabulary and the Web Intents specification? A win-win both for content publishers and search engines, says Dr. Michael Hausenblas, Linked Data Research Centre, DERI, NUI Galway, Ireland.
Hausenblas this week wrote about the “awesomeness” of connecting the two, describing how a search for a camera marked up using the schema.org vocabulary also could serve up a wave of Web Intents actions (existing and new ones) to take on the object. That could range from reviewing it to buying it.
“With Schema.org we have a way to describe the things we publish on our Web pages, such as books or cameras. And with WebIntents we have a technology at hand that allows us to interact with these things in a flexible way,” he wrote. With Web Intents, a framework for client-side service discovery and inter-application communication, services register their intention to be able to handle an action on the user’s behalf.
Speaking with the Semantic Web Blog, Hausenblas explains how the win-win happens: “Content publishers have an added incentive to use semantic markup there, not just to be better-ranked but to make their content more interactive,” he says. “And it’s a huge thing for search engines, as users can directly interact from them.”
3RoundStones Execs Discuss SemTech Start-Up Winner Callimachus Enterprise — And The Drive To A Semantic Web Ecosystem
As the Semantic Web Blog recently noted, 3RoundStones’ Callimachus Enterprise emerged as the winner of the Top Semantic Technology Start-up competition that was held at the Semantic Tech & Business Conference (#SemTechBiz) in San Francisco a few weeks ago. The commercially supported Linked Data Management system, now being piloted by eight companies, will this summer be released to the general public as Version 1.0.
Callimachus Enterprise is distinguished not only by its technology, but by CTO David Wood’s presentation that spoke to the real business needs of the enterprise today – including rapidly demonstrating value, in its case around exposing, connecting and visualizing disparate enterprise content – and also in that it provides a way for organizations to deal with their enterprise information in an entirely cloud-based solution. It leverages the Amazon cloud.
“A lot of companies are using cloud-based solutions for travel and expense tracking,” says CEO Bernadette Hyland. “But this is the beginning of a new wave.”
Created over the last four decades with the participation of thousands of member libraries, WorldCat is the world’s largest online registry of library collections. As the official press release states, “WorldCat.org now offers the largest set of linked bibliographic data on the Web. With the addition of Schema.org mark-up to all book, journal and other bibliographic resources in WorldCat.org, the entire publicly available version of WorldCat is now available for use by intelligent Web crawlers, like Google and Bing, that can make use of this metadata in search indexes and other applications.”
On the heels of the announcement earlier this week about Dewey Decimal Classifications also being available as Linked Data, this certainly marks an exciting week in the world of library information and the Semantic Web. However, this should also prove to be exciting for non-librarians, as these resources are now available beyond the world of library sciences.
The Semantic Technology & Business Conference has been underway since Sunday, with tutorials and lightning sessions catching audience interest. The conference presentations get underway today, most of them following on the heels of the opening keynotes given by Bart van Leeuwen, firefighter and architect at netage.nl; Jay Myers, web architect at Best Buy; and Steve Harris, CTO of Garlik, a part of Experian.
Best Buy, as readers of this blog know, has been diving deep into the semantic web waters under Myers’ direction for a few years now, and he shared that journey with the audience at SemTech.
Paul Houle, founder of Ontology 2, says, “:BaseKB is an important milestone for both Freebase and the Semantic Web. :BaseKB opens Freebase to users of SPARQL and other RDF standards. The superior quality of Freebase data solves data quality problems that have, so far, frustrated Linked Data applications.”
Silk is launching in open beta today (May 10). The service for applying semantics to create more powerful web sites, which we last discussed here, moves out of a private beta stage that the company says saw more than 10,000 users.
“A lot of the sites during the private beta were, well… private, so we can’t go into details about those,” says Sander Koppelaar, head of operations. Countries of the World, with all United Nations member state information, is one public Silk-powered demo web site for those who’d like to explore one. Generally speaking, he says there’s been a wide variety of use cases, ranging from professional publishers and data journalists to businesses and even personal use. “Publishers have used Silk to interpret data sets such as deadly traffic accidents, house sales and MBA rankings.