Some bloggers are still mixing things up and putting hakia (and several other startups for that matter) in the wrong buckets. Maybe I should use images to explain since writing about it seems to be inadequate communication for some cases.
Let’s start with the people. The red ones below are linguists by training, greens are tech savvy Web authors, and yellows are Web authors or individual publishers who are afraid of the mouse. The distribution of them on the Web is a big unknown, but for the sake of the ongoing argument, we will grossly approximate it as shown below:
The idea of Semantic Web is that the people (red, green, and yellow) will start publishing Web pages following the rules of semantics and linguistics. They will follow one standard to do that, probably using tools provided by the companies in this line of business. As a result, the Web will become Semantic Web by the people from every corner of the globe, offering unique benefits.
There are some questions that must be asked considering this picture. (1) While only a fraction of the Web pages written today follow the basic W3C standards, how is it possible that people will follow one standard for semantics? (2) how feasible is it to expect this crowd to do the job adequately considering the challenging nature of semantics and linguistics?
Now, the idea of Semantic Search technology is different as shown below. Let’s take hakia, for example, which is located in New York City.
A team of linguists and ontologists at hakia has built the required semantic algorithms and the resources. This means that the rest of the world does not have to worry about following any standards or learning complex nature of this technology. They can just publish in a free manner devoid of rules or standards. The questions to be asked to companies like hakia are (1) how good are the semantic resources built? (2) how versatile is the technology to conduct search and other functions on the Web?
Whatever the questions are, it looks like we are facing the first challenge of identifying the technologies correctly. Let’s also remember that sheer Web connectivity is not semantics as I explained in my earlier blog entry.
But if all this is still confusing, I just want to close with a final remark: hakia is not a Semantic Web company.