A truly meaningful way of interacting with the web may finally be here, and it is called the semantic web. The idea was proposed over a decade ago by Tim Berners-Lee, among others. Now a triumvirate of internet heavyweights—Google, Twitter and Facebook—are making it real.
The defining characteristic of the semantic web is that information should be stored in a machine-readable format. Crucially, that would allow computers to handle information in ways we would find more useful, because they would be processing the concepts within documents rather than just the documents themselves.
Imagine bookmarking a story about Barack Obama: your computer will store the URL, but it has no way of knowing whether the content relates to politics or, say, cookery. If, however, each Web page were to be tagged with information about its content, we can ask the web questions and expect sensible answers.
It is a wildly attractive idea but there have been few practical examples. That's about to change.
From New Scientist
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