Twitter Annotations

RDFa Support: How Do Google, Facebook & Twitter Compare? And How Will This Impact Their Position In The Semantic Search Engine Market?

When Google announced Rich Snippets just over one year ago on May 13 2009, they lit a fuse. A year later we saw the explosion when Facebook and Twitter both made moves to support Semantic Web standards. Who could have forecast that?

We are now seeing the great convergence. The new web looks a lot like a triumvirate – Google, Facebook and Twitter. There are other huge companies doing great stuff, but this triumvirate moves the market and defines standards adoption. All three do social and all three do search. So they all both publish and consume content.

On April 21st, we wrote “Facebook just nailed the semantic web“. (Actually, we quoted Alex Iskold’s tweet on that subject and then tried to figure out and explain why he was right).

Since then, we have seen momentum around Twitter Annotations and Google is now talking about how much traction they are getting with Rich Snippets.

In this post we try to dig below the covers to see how this might play out in the emerging new battle for leadership of the semantic search engine market.

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GetGlue Gets Onto the iPhone, Prepares For Twitter Annotations

getgluephoto.jpg AdaptiveBlue is bringing out a new iPhone app – it will sport features that have been added to the web-based GetGlue service, which also is available at some 300 web sites through an add-on. Noteworthy among them is “checking in” your current pursuit into the service, and normalized hash tag output for Twitter, a step to supporting Twitter Annotations.

AdaptiveBlue maintains a semantic database of objects across the web, so it knows that a certain book, for instance, is a specific object wherever it appears on connected web sites, explains vp of business development Fraser Kelton. So, when you check in that you’re involved in a book, movie, or bottle of wine, for that matter, you are checking into that as a singular object on the web. “The hash tag output to Twitter — that makes it easy within the Twitter service to collapse around that object,” says AdaptiveBlue CEO Alex Iskold. “The semantic infrastructure angle is that people can be using different Twitter tools to post about movies, etc. but really none of this is structured in any way. But with GetGlue it’s not ambiguous at all, because when you check in you check into that book. On hundreds of sites we support that’s all connected it’s not fragmented as with other tools.”
The social network player has previously waded into the iPhone app waters with an app that was mainly focused on presenting users’ personal data – books, movies, etc. – to take on the go. But its launch of Getglue.com since then increased the focus both on sharing and rating content you’re consuming as well as getting recommendations and suggestions based on your personal tastes, and this new version based on that service aims at a longer shelf life with such abilities. Check-in seems a good choice to extend to a mobile platform – sitting in front of your TV you can whip out your mobile phone to let your friends know what you’ve just turned on, earn points and stickers as you connect into that content, and push your status about how you’re entertaining yourself or what you’re thinking about out as a structured entry to your Facebook stream. Also it can tap into your Twitter stream, with those automatically output hash tags.

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Twitter Annotations: Sources For Introductory Research

We report regularly on the Twitter Annotations story as it unfolds. But if you are new to this subject, you may just want a quick introduction and links to further research. Then the current news that we report on will make more sense.

This post is your introduction to Twitter Annotations. You will find links to further research, which we will keep up to date.

Twitter Annotations explained in a tweet: Can add many annotations to a tweet: “type”:{“attribute”:”value”} e.g. “movie”:{“title”:”Avatar”}

Thanks, John Breslin

If you just want the 101 version for the super-busy, here is our version:

You can embed metatada in a Tweet, outside the 140 character limit, subject to these basic technical constraints:

1. A tweet can have one or more annotation
2. Tweets can have more than one annotation of the same type
3. Annotations of the same type are still separate annotations
4. The attribute names in a given annotation may only occur once in a given annotation (the same restrictions as a conventional hash map)
5. Annotations have to be described within 512 bytes. This may get increased to 2k.
6. The early uses are likely to be for links and photos. But Annotations may turn Twitter into a real time web message bus and that is where there is big potential.

If you are reasonably technical and want to understand the fundamentals, Twitter’s API site is the best starting point. This is edited by Ryan Sarver regularly. There is a Google Group, but it does not have many updates (so the Twitter API site is a better resource).

If you come from a Semantic Web world and want to look at this in the context of standards such as RDF, Andy Murdoch’s post is good.

If you want to go a bit deeper and like to absorb information by video, this 25 minute video from Raffi Krikorian, one of the tech leads on the Twitter Platform is good:

Raffi Krikorian’s Extremely Preliminary Look at Twitter’s Annotations from Farhan Rehman on Vimeo.

If you want to read the tech blogs commentary, here are the best posts from Mashable, Read Write Web, Techcrunch, GigaOm, Venture Beat, Social Times and our very own SemanticWeb.com.

How you look at Twitter Annotations, will depend on where you are coming from and what you want to achieve. Here are some more specialist points of view (all from SemanticWeb.com unless otherwise noted):

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

• Enterprise 2.0 SocialText use, our take and Read Write Web’s take.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Ecommerce.

Job Search & Job Boards.

What have we missed? Please tell us any good sources in comments so we can keep this up to date.

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CONVERT BREAKS: __default__

We report regularly on the Twitter Annotations story as it unfolds. But if you are new to this subject, you may just want a quick introduction and links to further research. Then the current news that we report on will make more sense.

This post is your introduction to Twitter Annotations. You will find links to further research, which we will keep up to date.

Twitter Annotations explained in a tweet: Can add many annotations to a tweet: “type”:{“attribute”:”value”} e.g. “movie”:{“title”:”Avatar”}

Thanks, John Breslin

If you just want the 101 version for the super-busy, here is our version:

You can embed metatada in a Tweet, outside the 140 character limit, subject to these basic technical constraints:

1. A tweet can have one or more annotation
2. Tweets can have more than one annotation of the same type
3. Annotations of the same type are still separate annotations
4. The attribute names in a given annotation may only occur once in a given annotation (the same restrictions as a conventional hash map)
5. Annotations have to be described within 512 bytes. This may get increased to 2k.
6. The early uses are likely to be for links and photos. But Annotations may turn Twitter into a real time web message bus and that is where there is big potential.

If you are reasonably technical and want to understand the fundamentals, Twitter’s API site is the best starting point. This is edited by Ryan Sarver regularly. There is a Google Group, but it does not have many updates (so the Twitter API site is a better resource).

If you come from a Semantic Web world and want to look at this in the context of standards such as RDF, Andy Murdoch’s post is good.

If you want to go a bit deeper and like to absorb information by video, this 25 minute video from Raffi Krikorian, one of the tech leads on the Twitter Platform is good:

Raffi Krikorian’s Extremely Preliminary Look at Twitter’s Annotations from Farhan Rehman on Vimeo.

If you want to read the tech blogs commentary, here are the best posts from Mashable, Read Write Web, Techcrunch, GigaOm, Venture Beat, Social Times and our very own SemanticWeb.com.

How you look at Twitter Annotations, will depend on where you are coming from and what you want to achieve. Here are some more specialist points of view (all from SemanticWeb.com unless otherwise noted):

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

• Enterprise 2.0 SocialText use, our take and Read Write Web’s take.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Ecommerce.

Job Search & Job Boards.

What have we missed? Please tell us any good sources in comments so we can keep this up to date.

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• Don’t forget to propose your startup for our Semantic Web Impact Awards. The deadline is Sept. 15.

Twitter Made The Right Decision To Let The Market Define Twitter Annotations Types

Twitter does not define the “types” of Twitter Annotations. This has led to some commentators forecasting a messy failure. A fairly innocuous comment by Chris Messina from Google in a recent post at GigaOm reignited this controversy:

“It could get pretty hairy with lots of non-interoperable approaches”

Dave Winer took Google to task for being a bully:

“Google can’t get their act together to compete so they try to spoil the party”

That seems like a late-at-night-written-in-haste-post and a bit of an overreaction.

David Weinberger’s point of view is:

“After the confusion there will be a natural folksonomic (and capitalist) pull toward whatever terms we need the most. Twitter can always step in and suggest particular terms, or surface the relative popularity of the various types, so that if you want to make money by selling via tweets, you’ll learn to use the type “price” instead of “cost_to_user,” or whatever. Or you’ll figure out that most of the Twitter clients are looking for a type called “rating” rather than “stars” or “popularity.” There’ll be some mess. There’ll be some angry angry hash tags. But better open confusion than expecting anyone — even the Twitter Lads — to do a better job of guessing what its users need and what clever developers will invent than those users and developers themselves.”

David Weinberger is one of the co-authors of the ClueTrain Manifesto and also wrote Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. So it is natural for him to take the “let a thousand flowers bloom” approach.

We think that Twitter took the right approach for three reasons:

1. They would not have been able to launch for ages if they had defined the Types. Twitter follows the law of the web startup – launch, get market feedback, improve.

2. Defining Types would have throttled innovation among app developers. The market will get to a standard in each type, but that standard will be better for having some competition.

3. Technical solutions to map/convert one type to another will appear as they always do when standards are emerging in a new market.

Twitter Annotations For Enterprise: SocialText And The Social Layer

BirdSuit.png

Is the famously cute and chirpy little bird putting on a suit and getting serious? Yesterday I spoke to Ross Mayfield, co-founder, Chairman and President, and former CEO of Socialtext about how they are using Twitter Annotations in their enterprise social software.

We think of Twitter as a purely consumer phenomenon. It certainly started that way. But once a consumer site gets this level of traction, the enterprise folks pay serious attention. At first of course the attention is “how can marketing use Twitter to get more customers”. That has been happening for a while.

What is different is looking at Twitter within the enterprise.

This is where Twitter Annotations enter the picture. This changes the game for vendors offering microblogging within the enterprise. SocialText offers microblogging within the enterprise as do many others. But SocialText is positioning beyond features to become a “social layer” within the enterprise stack.
BirdSuit.png

Is the famously cute and chirpy little bird putting on a suit and getting serious? Yesterday I spoke to Ross Mayfield, co-founder, Chairman and President, and former CEO of Socialtext about how they are using Twitter Annotations in their enterprise social software.

We think of Twitter as a purely consumer phenomenon. It certainly started that way. But once a consumer site gets this level of traction, the enterprise folks pay serious attention. At first of course the attention is “how can marketing use Twitter to get more customers”. That has been happening for a while.

What is different is looking at Twitter within the enterprise.

This is where Twitter Annotations enter the picture. This changes the game for vendors offering microblogging within the enterprise. SocialText offers microblogging within the enterprise as do many others. But SocialText is positioning beyond features to become a “social layer” within the enterprise stack.

Read more

Who Will Be The New Job Search Engine To Leverage Twitter Annotations And Open Graph Protocol?

JOBSEARCH.png

Check out TwitJobSearch, which bills itself as a “job search engine for Twitter”. They do a pretty good job using semantic technology to extract the job postings from Tweets. This was created by a UK job search engine called Workhound and you can see the potential to give the leading job search engines – Indeed and SimplyHired – a run for their money.

We tested TwitJobSearch against Indeed and speculate on how Twitter Annotations and Facebook Open Graph Protocol could change the game of matching available jobs to people hunting for jobs.

JOBSEARCH.png

Check out TwitJobSearch, which bills itself as a “job search engine for Twitter”. They do a pretty good job using semantic technology to extract the job postings from Tweets. This was created by a UK job search engine called Workhound and you can see the potential to give the leading job search engines – Indeed and SimplyHired – a run for their money.

We tested TwitJobSearch against Indeed and speculate on how Twitter Annotations and Facebook Open Graph Protocol could change the game of matching available jobs to people hunting for jobs.

Read more

Twitter Annotations Spotted In The Wild: World Cup Site

TwitterWorldCup.png

Is this the first Twitter Annotations site out in the wild?

What does this mean? Is it a techie experiment to show off Twitter Annotations? Or is it Twitter becoming an online publisher (starting with sports).

We assume the former.

Twitter Annotations: Could SEO Be First The Killer App?

SEOBookStack.png

We have been exploring all kinds of exciting futuristic uses for Twitter Annotations. We have never had a real time web message bus before. This opens up so many game-changing opportunities.

But many of them are complex and have multiple moving parts. These can take time to get traction. Often the first app to get traction helps with one simple task in a measurable way.

That simple immediate use case maybe SEO.

Photo courtesy Flickr and Marcio Okabe.
SEOBookStack.png

We have been exploring all kinds of exciting futuristic uses for Twitter Annotations. We have never had a real time web message bus before. This opens up so many game-changing opportunities.

But many of them are complex and have multiple moving parts. These can take time to get traction. Often the first app to get traction helps with one simple task in a measurable way.

That simple immediate use case maybe SEO.

Photo courtesy Flickr and Marcio Okabe.

Read more

Twitter Annotations: Real Time Semantic Ecommerce Bus?

ecommerce bus.png

On Friday I will be attending the Read Write Web Real Time Summit in New York City. My focus for the day will be Twitter Annotations, specifically the application to ecommerce.

Ecommerce is booming. And Ecommerce is about matching buyers and sellers around a price. Markets are intrinsically real time, so the real time web and Twitter will have a major role. But the matching process requires structure/semantics. That is where Annotations can be a game-changer.

So, tell me what you think about Twitter Annotations for Ecommerce before the event.

For more background, read on…

Photo courtesy Flickr and Wonderlane.
ecommerce bus.png

On Friday I will be attending the Read Write Web Real Time Summit in New York City. My focus for the day will be Twitter Annotations, specifically the application to ecommerce.

Ecommerce is booming. And Ecommerce is about matching buyers and sellers around a price. Markets are intrinsically real time, so the real time web and Twitter will have a major role. But the matching process requires structure/semantics. That is where Annotations can be a game-changer.

So, tell me what you think about Twitter Annotations for Ecommerce before the event.

For more background, read on…

Photo courtesy Flickr and Wonderlane.

Read more

Will Twitter Annotations Kill Google Wave?

I am indebted to James Governor @monkchips for asking the question:

monkchips.png

The answer is probably closer to” Twitter Annotations will “derail” or “slow” down Google Wave. It will make Google Wave into a niche product. Given that Google does not like “niche” as that is too small to move their massive needle, Google may kill Wave or re-invent it.

Both products are raw and new. Both promise a lot. Both are focused on real time many to many communication. Both use “annotations” Both depend on an ecosystem of developers. The last one is what matters. This is an election decided by geeks.

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