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
Posts Tagged ‘Open Graph’
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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
The Open Graph protocol continues to progress: Earlier this week Facebook’s Director of Developer Relations Douglas Purdy talked about its intersection with the mobile web.
According to Purdy, more people are accessing Facebook on the mobile web than from its top native apps combined, and the game is on to help developers conquer the challenges of building for that community. One of those challenges is app discovery. At the Mobile World Congress on Monday, the company announced that it’s continuing to address the first issue with plans to extend to native Android apps the ability for Facebook’s 425 million mobile app users to discover them through Open Graph connections.
The mobile ad space gets more and more interesting. Reports indicate that LinkedIn will be launching mobile advertisements as early as March, based on a statement by CEO Jeff Weiner during its quarterly earnings call that there are plans to monetize page views in “the mobile environment.” How much, if any, of that will be semantic-influenced is unknown, though it’s worth noting that LinkedIn has discussed its use of microformats in the past, such as hCard and hResume, and offered that it would be experimenting with RDF and FoaF.
And Facebook is hip to being in the mobile ad mix, too, acknowledging amid the IPO flurry that a weakness it had was monetizing its mobile user base. The Financial Times reported that it’s been in discussion with ad agencies about displaying sponsored “featured stories” in mobile users’ news feeds as well as to desktop users (see more about that and its intersection with the Open Graph protocol here).
Clearly, mobility matters to online advertising, and to semantically-minded players in the market. NetSeer has been on that bandwagon, for example, mobilizing its concept-based advertising through its relationship with Mobile Theory. Our friends in the Nordic region also have the semantic targeting capabilities that come along with ad serving technology from Emediate, an independent company that’s owned by ad pepper media International and provides web publishers with a system for managing, targeting and forecasting digital ads, including in the mobile space.
Now there’s news today from Twelvefold Media (formerly BuzzLogic) about the launch of Spectrum for Mobile, which takes its online targeting capabilities to the iOS and Android platforms. Spectrum is the company’s system for providing in real-time emotive-based ads by analyzing and understanding the content on individual pages (for further insight into how it works, see this story).