User Experience (UX)
Seevl, the music discovery service built on Semantic Technology that I wrote about a few months ago, has released a significant update to their plugin for YouTube. The plugin is still only available for the Google Chrome browser, but other browser plugins are in the works. You can grab the Chrome plugin here.
Once the plugin is installed, the user has new options available when visiting YouTube. First, there’s a new search option next to the standard YouTube search bar.
“Our mission is to make long form content as easy and relevant as social media.”
With the increasing popularity of cloud-based services for personal workflows, there is a parallel need for ways to organize that information. As part of my everyday workflow and information management routine, I use Evernote, Google Reader, Google Docs, DropBox, and a good number of locally stored files. I email files and links to myself frequently. Each of these services is great in its own right, and I use them for different purposes and on different devices. I use them for both personal and work-related information.
By the very nature of this workflow, I have created several silos I need to go to when I am ready to access information, and honestly, it’s not always easy to remember which silo something resides in. I have topics that span content in those different eco-systems, and it would be incredibly useful to have a centralized view into “everything I have saved or tagged on the topic of RDFa,” for example.
Semantic technologies of various flavours have the potential to discover connections and enable insights that are powerful, valuable, intriguing, insightful, and surprising. However, as with so many technologies, there’s a flip side. As tools grow more capable and data sets continue to blossom, it becomes ever more likely that the segmented lives of web users — whether public and private, law-abiding and nefarious, or respectable and risqué — will be joined up without our explicit consent. As developers who see the best in people build ever-richer tools, technology companies that cannot — or will not — understand the value of the ageing legal system’s checks and balances continue to use them in pushing the boundaries of what society considers to be acceptable. There are already scare stories, and as the reality becomes more capable, those scare stories will undoubtedly become increasingly terrifying. Some of them may even turn out to be true. But it’s not necessary to believe the full Orwellian horror of a Mountain View search engine (or a Menlo Park social network) that knows everything about you, and acts upon that knowledge. Even in the smaller every-day injections of semantic smarts into business processes, there are things that should perhaps make us sit up and take note. Just because semantic technologies can discover patterns in customer behaviour, doesn’t mean we should necessarily act upon them too soon.