Posts Tagged ‘Open Graph’

Facebook Cutting Back on Open Graph Actions

The Facebook Developer Blog recently announced that the company will be cutting back on Open Graph actions in an effort to reduce spam: “Over the past six months we’ve launched new channels, such as App Center with our improved recommendations engine, to drive distribution to the highest quality apps. As part of these ongoing updates, today we’re releasing improvements to how we present Open Graph stories in news feed and on timeline to drive growth and engagement to your app. In order to provide users with experiences that meet their expectations, we will no longer approve custom actions that publish stories as people consume content. These apps must use the appropriate built-in actions or create a different sharing experience. We are also deprecating a handful of features that led to low quality user experiences.”

Kim-Mai Cutler of TechCrunch noted, “Now apps must use authorized actions like ‘Listen,’ ‘Read,’ ‘Watch,’ ‘Like,’ or ‘Follow’ if they want to automatically publish into the ticker or news feed as they consume content. Developers can still create custom actions like ‘run’ or ‘cook’, but a user has to click a button in order for that activity to be shared. The company is also giving additional distribution to news feed updates that have locations or photos tied to them, since these stories can get 70 percent more clicks if they have decent visuals. Facebook’s Henry Zhang wrote that these stories can see up to 50 times more ‘Likes’ than other stories.”

Image: Courtesy Facebook

Twitter, the new kid on the Semantic Web block

Remember how search engines can show nice snippets in their search results thanks to the structured data that webmasters embedded in the HTML of their webpages (RDFa, schema.org, etc)? Additionally, Facebook gains insight about user’s interest through structured data on webpages (i.e. Open Graph Protocol). Now there is a new kid on the block: Twitter.

Twitter Cards

Twitter recently introduced Twitter Cards, a way to “attach media experiences to Tweets that link to your content.” By adding structured data embedded in the HTML of your webpage, “users who Tweet links to your content will have a ‘card’ added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.” Basically, Twitter will now have a bit more of information about your webpage in order to know how to make a nice snippet in a tweet.

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Facebook’s Open Graph Continues to Surge

Sean Creeley of Embedly recently commented on the rise of Facebook’s Open Graph: “42% of all URLs that Embedly processes have one or more Open Graph tags. If you aren’t familiar with Open Graph, it’s the semantic metadata that Facebook introduced in 2010. Initially, it could only provide the title, image, and description for links and a few other objects, but it’s been extended to power pretty much every third-party application in the stream. Yes, the special sauce that allowed Viddy and SocialCam to amass millions of users in days is Open Graph.” Read more

Volume, Emotion, Sponsorship: What Brands Have An Edge on Social Media Strategies?

Market Strategies International recently released the first edition of what it says will be an annual Social Media Brand Index, a measure for brands both of consumer-generated social media about them and of their own sponsored content. The Index takes into account four components. Volume, or the amount of buzz about a brand online, is one of them — and its most highly weighted component, too. The others take their cue from what we might call more meaning-related measures, sentiment analytics and semantic markup among them.

For example, there’s net Sentiment, which Market Strategies says represents the ratio of positive to negative sentiments expressed about a brand based on automated natural language processing of the content of posts, comments and mentions. Another component, Positive Emotions, seems to flow from that measure, representing the number of content items that are identified as having the warm fuzzies about them, again based on automated coding of content.

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Semantic Commerce: Structuring Your Retail Website for the Next Generation Web

Are you wondering why your product pages don’t stand out in search results like those from Amazon (shown below) or other competing e-commerce websites? These expanded results are commonly known as Rich Snippets (as named by Google) and are the result of having your HTML structured correctly with semantic markup. Whether you’re savvy to HTML5 and the latest design trends, or you haven’t updated your website code in years, this is article will explain why it’s important you structure your data properly utilizing semantic standards.

Sample of Rich Snippet result

There are a number of ways to structure your data to make it more relevant to search engines, as well as social media sites. As an e-commerce retailer it is important to understand which of these standards you should consider including in your website. You should take some time to ensure you are implementing semantic markup, and doing it correctly. It has the power to better inform potential customers with upfront knowledge prior to landing on your site. Customers can see product reviews, pricing and stock information, and even images before clicking through to your website. This can lead to increased click-through rates, improve conversions, and generally enhance your SEO objectives.

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Catching Up With Yandex: What Russia’s Leading Search Engine Has To Say About Schema.org

Update: Yandex today (April 26th) reported that net income in the first three months of 2012 rose 53 percent from the same period last year to 1.26 billion rubles ($43 million) as text-based advertising revenue rose, according to Bloomberg. Sales gained 51 percent to 5.9 billion rubles.

In November Russian search engine Yandex joined Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! to collaborate on schema.org. The Semantic Web Blog recently caught up by email with Alexander Shubin, Yandex product manager and head of strategic direction, to discuss this and other developments.

The Semantic Web Blog: Can you update us about how Yandex is doing? We know it’s still leading search traffic in Russia, but do you see more competition there, and how have international expansion plans been proceeding?

Shubin: Yandex is the leader in Russia with 59 to 60 percent market share. Russia is one of the few countries where a local search engine keeps a leading position, in spite of international players’ expansion.

Last year Yandex was launched in Turkey, where we suggest 12 services (including web search) so far. According to our statistics, yandex.com.tr processes more than 1 million queries daily. Turkey is the first non-Russian speaking market for us and we have done a lot of work to deliver services that would be interesting for the local community.  The main target for Yandex in Turkey, where one search engine still keeps 90 percent of search market, is to become the Number 2 player and to deliver more local search results and services than our competitor does.

Turkey is more or less an experiment for us: If we meet our target there, we can potentially do the same on any other non-Russian speaking market. But it is too early to make any conclusions or announcements so far as we have worked in Turkey only half of year. Stay tuned!

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Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition: Fueling More Startup Fever and Semantic Startups’ Dreams

The news of Facebook’s acquisition of mobile photo-sharing service Instagram for $1 billion this week may be fueling the dreams of tech start-ups of every stripe, including those in the semantic tech community. In fact, they may have even greater reason to be inspired: A recent  report has it that Instagram has been slowly rolling out an Open Graph integration for the app accomplished in collaboration with Facebook for seamlessly publishing photos to users’ Timelines in what may be the first of similar partner-deals down the road.

Other startups infused with semantic tech smarts may be on high lookout for funding opportunities as an important part of making those dreams come true. Thomson Reuters and The National Venture Capital Association this week released funding stats for the first quarter of 2012 that could put a bit of a damper on things: It found a 35 percent decrease by dollar commitments and a 9 percent decline by number of funds, compared to the first quarter of 2011. But, according to a statement by Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA, venture firms “appear to be more optimistic about the fundraising environment in 2012.”

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Will Facebook Search Improvements Turn The Tables, Disrupt Relationships?

Late last week Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Facebook is working on an improved search engine with 20 developers under the direction of former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen, who joined the social network giant in 2010. According to the article’s unnamed sources, the goal “is to help users better sift through the volume of content that members create on the site, such as status updates, and the articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people ‘like’ using Facebook’s omnipresent thumbs-up button.”

As the news starts to make its way around the Web, the focus is on how this can intensify the competition between Facebook and Google, even if Facebook doesn’t directly go after the big web search enchilada. (Most seem to agree that it isn’t, at least not yet.) Better searching inside its own four walls, with its ability to use its host of knowledge about friends’ social graph data – their Likes and more – to more accurately personalize results, might encourage users to stay where they are rather than head out to search engine land, at least for some things. And at the same time let Facebook hone its advertising to profit from improved search results, too.

It would be an interesting turn of events, to have the leading search engine face the dilemma that online publishers long have been trying to deal with – keeping visitors engaged and exploring on their own sites rather than departing for Google in search of related information. As The Semantic Web Blog reported this week in a story about premium publishers deploying more semantic technology to try to solve that issue, most premium publishers lose 30 to 50 percent of their traffic to search engines.

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Yoke Brings Ontology Graph to Facebook Dating To Reveal Connections, And Make Them, Too

A new matchmaking app from one of the founders of Adaptive Semantics hit Facebook yesterday. Adaptive Semantics, you may recall, developed the JuLiA semantic text-parsing technology that’s now part of AOL’s toolkit, courtesy of its Huffington Post acquisition.

Kingfish Labs is the startup that created Yoke, and it includes Jeff Revesz as CTO. Rob Fishman, who was Huffington Post’s social media editor, is the CEO of the company, which recently received $500,000 in seed funding. Yoke’s take on the online dating scene is to bring people together with the help of an ontology graph: Its algorithms explore entities, the connections between them, and the strength of those connections to discover common interests between people that just might lead to a real-world bond.

Yoke is deeply connected into the Facebook API, Revesz says. With users’ permission, it accesses basic data such as birthday, location, and education history, and also pulls their Likes in music, bands, artists, movies, books and some general areas outside those categories. Ditto for their closest friends (again, with respect to their privacy settings, so no guarantee as to how far it can get for each individual). Behind the scenes, Yoke mashes up its Facebook Graph data with data from Amazon, Netflix, and Echonest (which powers Spotify radio) to produce an ontology of interest entities for connecting users together. These three sources were chosen, Revesz says, because they’re the easiest to work with, the biggest and the best.

“We’re looking both for similarity information and ontology information,” he explains – that is, for example, how closely two movies might resemble each other, and what entities they might share in common, such as the same director or actors. So, if someone likes one particular movie, the ontology of interest entities can be used to show other people who like similar things.

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Open Graph App Brings Increased Traffic to Guardian.co.uk

Brittany Darwell of our sister publication, Inside Facebook, recently reported that Guardian.co.uk attributed 30% of its referral traffic in February to The Guardian‘s social reader app on Facebook’s Open Graph. Darwell reports, “That’s up from 2 percent only six months ago. The change is largely the result of a Facebook canvas application that lets users read Guardian stories and share them automatically via Ticker, Timeline and News Feed. This is yet another example of Open Graph driving significant traffic to third-party apps and websites. For a few days in February, Facebook even surpassed Google in referral percentage to the Guardian, though it hasn’t maintained the lead.” Read more

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