Posts Tagged ‘rdfa’

Semantic Tech Lends A Hand To Thanksgiving Holiday Sales

Photo courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/119886413@N05/

Photo courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/119886413@N05/

Retailers are pushing holiday shopping deals earlier and earlier each year, but for many consumers the Thanksgiving weekend still signals the official start of the gift-buying season. With that in mind, we present some thoughts on how the use of semantic technology may impact your holiday shopping this year.

  • Pinterest has gained a reputation as the go-to social network for online retailers that want to drive traffic and sales. Shoppers get an advantage, too, as more e-tailers deploy Rich Pins, a feature made available for general use late last year, for their products, using either schema.org or Open Graph. Daily updated Product Rich Pins now include extra information such as real-time pricing, availability and where to buy metatags right on the Pin itself. And, anyone who’s pinned a product of interest will get a notification when the price has dropped. OverstockTarget, and Shopify shops are just some of the sites that take advantage of the feature. Given that 75 percent of its traffic comes from mobile devices, it’s nice that a recent update to Pinterest’s iPhone mobile app – and on the way for Andoid and iPads – also makes Pins information and images bigger on small screens.

 

  • Best Buy was one of the earliest retailers to look to semantic web technologies to help out shoppers (and its business), adding meaning to product data via RDFa and leveraging ontologies such as GoodRelations, FOAF and GEO. Today, the company’s web site properties use microdata and schema.org, continually adding to shopper engagement with added data elements, such as in-stock data and store location information for products in search results, as you can see in this presentation this summer by Jay Myers, Best Buy’s Emerging Digital Platforms Product Manager, given at Search Marketing Expo.

 

  • Retailers such as Urban Decay, Crate&Barrel, Golfsmith and Kate Somerville are using Edgecase’s Adaptive Experience platform, generating user-friendly taxonomies from the data they already have to drive a better customer navigation and discovery experience. The system relies on both machine learning and human curation to let online buyers shop on their terms, using the natural language they want to employ (see our story here for more details).

 

  • Walmart at its Walmart Labs has been steadily driving semantic technology further into its customer shopping experience. Last year, for example, Walmart Labs senior director Abhishek Gattani discussed at the Semantic Technology and Business conference capabilities it’s developed such as semantic algorithms for color detection so that it can rank apparel, for instance, by the color a shopper is looking for and show him items in colors close to read when red itself is not available, as well as categorizing queries to direct people to the department that’s really most interesting to them. This year, WalMart Labs added talent from Adchemy when it acquired the company to bring further expertise in semantic search and data analytics to its team, as well as Luvocracy, an online community that enables the social shopping experience—from discovery of products recommended by people a users trusts to commerce itself. Search and product discovery is at the heart of new features its rolling out to drive the in-store experience too, via mobile apps such as Search My Store to find exactly where items on their list are located at any retail site.

What’s your favorite semantically-enhanced shopping experience? Share it with our readers below to streamline their holiday shopping!

 

Web Components: Even Better With Semantic Markup

W3C LogoThe W3C’s Web Components model is positioned to solve many of the problems that beset web developers today. “Developers are longing for the ability to have reusable, declarative, expressive components,” says Brian Sletten, a specialist in semantic web and next-generation technologies, software architecture, API design, software development and security, and data science, and president of software consultancy Bosatsu Consulting, Inc.

Web Components should fulfill that longing: With Templates, Custom Elements, Shadow DOM, and Imports draft specifications (and thus still subject to change), developers get a set of specifications for creating their web applications and elements as a set of reusable components. While most browsers don’t yet support these specifications, there are Web Component projects like Polymer that enable developers who want to start taking advantage of these capabilities right away to build Web objects and applications atop the specs today.

“With this kind of structure in place, now there is a market for people to create components that can be reused across any HTML-based application or document,” Sletten says. “There will be an explosion of people building reusable components so that you and I can use those elements and don’t have to write a ton of obnoxious JavaScript to do certain things.”

That in itself is exciting, Sletten says, but even more so is the connection he made that semantic markup can be added to any web component.

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You Can Help Make Linked Data Core To The Future of Identity, Payment On The Web Platform

ld1At the end of September, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) may approve the world’s first Web Payments Steering Group, to explore issues such as navigating around obstacles to seamless payments on the web and ways to better facilitate global transactions while respecting local laws. Identity and digital signatures have a role here, at the same time as they go beyond the realm of payment into privacy and other arenas. At the end of October, there also will be a W3C technical plenary, to discuss identity, graph normalization, digital signatures and payments technologies.

Expect Linked Data to come up in the context of both events, Manu Sporny told attendees at this August’s 10th annual Semantic Technology & Business conference in San Jose during his keynote address, entitled Building Linked Data Into the Core of the Web. “It is the foundational data model to build all this technology off of,” said Sporny, who is the founder and CEO of Digital Bazaar, which develops technology and services to make it easier to buy and sell digital content over the Internet. (See our stories about the company and its technology here.)  He also is founder and chair of the W3C Web Payments Community Group, chair of its RDFa Working Group, and founder, and chair and lead editor of the JSON-LD Community Group.

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The Web Is 25 — And The Semantic Web Has Been An Important Part Of It

web25NOTE: This post was updated at 5:40pm ET.

Today the Web celebrates its 25th birthday, and we celebrate the Semantic Web’s role in that milestone. And what a milestone it is: As of this month, the Indexed Web contains at least 2.31 billion pages, according to WorldWideWebSize.  

The Semantic Web Blog reached out to the World Wide Web Consortium’s current and former semantic leads to get their perspective on the roads The Semantic Web has traveled and the value it has so far brought to the Web’s table: Phil Archer, W3C Data Activity Lead coordinating work on the Semantic Web and related technologies; Ivan Herman, who last year transitioned roles at the W3C from Semantic Activity Lead to Digital Publishing Activity Lead; and Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira and the leader of the Semantic Web Initiative at the W3C until 2007.

While The Semantic Web came to the attention of the wider public in 2001, with the publication in The Scientific American of The Semantic Web by Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila, Archer points out that “one could argue that the Semantic Web is 25 years old,” too. He cites Berners-Lee’s March 1989 paper, Information Management: A Proposal, that includes a diagram that shows relationships that are immediately recognizable as triples. “That’s how Tim envisaged it from Day 1,” Archer says.

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Keep On Keeping On

“There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new order of things…. Whenever his enemies have the ability to attack the innovator, they do so with the passion of partisans, while the others defend him sluggishly, so that the innovator and his party alike are vulnerable.”
–Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)

Atlanta's flying car laneIn case you missed it, a series of recent articles have made a Big Announcement:

The Semantic Web is not here yet.

Additionally, neither are flying cars, the cure for cancer, humans traveling to Mars or a bunch of other futuristic ideas that still have merit.

A problem with many of these articles is that they conflate the Vision of the Semantic Web with the practical technologies associated with the standards. While the Whole Enchilada has yet to emerge (and may never do so), the individual technologies are finding their way into ever more systems in a wide variety of industries. These are not all necessarily on the public Web, they are simply Webs of Data. There are plenty of examples of this happening and I won’t reiterate them here.

Instead, I want to highlight some other things that are going on in this discussion that are largely left out of these narrowly-focused, provocative articles.

First, the Semantic Web has a name attached to its vision and it has for quite some time. As such, it is easy to remember and it is easy to remember that it Hasn’t Gotten Here Yet. Every year or so, we have another round of articles that are more about cursing the darkness than lighting candles.

In that same timeframe, however, we’ve seen the ascent and burn out failure of Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA), Enterprise Service Buses (ESBs), various MVC frameworks, server side architectures, etc. Everyone likes to announce $20 million sales of an ESB to clients. No one generally reports on the $100 million write-downs on failed initiatives when they surface in annual reports a few years later. So we are left with a skewed perspective on the efficacy of these big “conventional” initiatives.

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The New World of Books: E-Reading Gets Robust

Cast your vote yet for The Booksmash Challenge? If not, you’ve got a chance to pull the lever for semantic technology for the contest, which is sponsored by HarperCollins and asks developers to create proof-of-concept apps using its OpenBook API that includes full access to select authors’ work.

Entered in the challenge is the KEeReader, a browser-based e-reading platform that brings the ability to identify concepts, entities and relationships within content and allow users to interact with it. Its chief architect is Eric Freese, who gave audiences at this past spring’s SemTech conference in San Francisco a first look at the platform, and who will be providing attendees at the upcoming Semantic Technology & Business Conference in NYC the latest insights on its place in the evolving world of knowledge enhanced e-reading. KEeReader adds a semantic angle to its book discovery one, opening the door to a vastly richer experience, says Freese.

“The two main goals of this are first to bring e-books into being first- class citizens on the web,” he says, benefitting from search engine optimization techniques for discovery, subscription to open Web standards to leverage the world of web resources like Wiktionary, and even analytics about book use for publishers to use in their business strategies. “The second goal is to unlock knowledge contained within the book.”

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W3C Announces Three New RDFa Recommendations

World Wide Web Consortium logoThe W3C announced today that three specifications have reached recommendation status:

HTML+RDFa 1.1:
http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/REC-html-rdfa-20130822/

RDFa 1.1 Core – Second Edition
http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/REC-rdfa-core-20130822/

XHTML+RDFa 1.1 – Second Edition
http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/REC-xhtml-rdfa-20130822/

As the W3C website explains, “The last couple of years have witnessed a fascinating evolution: while the Web was initially built predominantly for human consumption, web content is increasingly consumed by machines which expect some amount of structured data. Sites have started to identify a page’s title, content type, and preview image to provide appropriate information in a user’s newsfeed when she clicks the ‘Like’ button. Search engines have started to provide richer search results by extracting fine-grained structured details from the Web pages they crawl. In turn, web publishers are producing increasing amounts of structured data within their Web content to improve their standing with search engines.”

“A key enabling technology behind these developments is the ability to add structured data to HTML pages directly. RDFa (Resource Description Framework in Attributes) is a technique that allows just that: it provides a set of markup attributes to augment the visual information on the Web with machine-readable hints. ”

Manu Sporny, the editor of the HTML+RDFa 1.1 specification, told us that, “The release of RDFa 1.1 for HTML5 establishes it as the first HTML-based Linked Data technology to achieve recognition as an official Web standard by the World Wide Web Consortium.” Read more

Schema.Org Intros Vocabulary Changes And Other Fixes

What’s new at schema.org?

According to Dan Brickley (here), changes start with two issues at the vocabulary level. The first is the addition of http://schema.org/sameAs, for disambiguating entities in structured markup, indicating when a single real-world entity is being described. The W3C proposal for the property, which essentially has the same semantics as owl:sameAs and which began life as sameThingAs, adds a property to Thing that makes it easier to indicate identifying URLs for entities being described. Reports Freebase, “This lets webmasters declare how their structured data should connect to the Knowledge Graph and opens up a lot of possibilities for mashups with the Freebase APIs.” Read more

Yandex’ New Interactive Snippets: Now Users Can Book, Buy And Pay Bills Right From Its Search Page

Rich snippets – yep, they were a nice start, but Russian search engine Yandex thinks it’s time for something more powerful. Something it’s calling interactive snippets and a feature it’s branding as Islands for its search results pages.

Yandex says the new feature evolves from rich snippets, which CTO Ilya Segalovich refers to in the press release as “mere decoration.” Interactive snippets, in contrast, are actionable, letting users do things like book movie tickets, make reservations or pay bills right from the search page. Webmasters can choose to add this functionality to their web sites if they want to, and while it may get their business customers – especially those using smartphones and tablets – who want to make their transactions as seamless as possible, it does mean those users won’t be making the journey to the business’ own web site.

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Ready, Set, Lightning! 5-Minute Talks at SemTechBiz

A favorite component of the Semantic Technology and Business Conference is  the Lightning Round: an hour of five-minute talks given by excited executives and entrepreneurs fighting the clock to get across their ideas in just five minutes. If the participants went over the time limit (which was boldly displayed for all of us in the packed audience to monitor) they were very politely clapped off the stage. Surprisingly, many of the presenters had their speeches timed to the second, but others would have killed for fifteen more seconds.

At the end of the hour, the crowd of attendees left with brains stuffed to the brim with new ideas about a wide range of topics. The following are just a few highlights from the action-packed hour. Read more

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