The learning machine

The semantic, or learning web is the next stage in web development. The stages of the web have been identified as:

– READ Web 1.0 

– WRITE Web 2.0

– LEARN Web 3.0

Semantic Search

Already there have been some search engines which have begun to show search results in a semantic manner:

A new service by Dapper gives site owners the ability to “Semantify” their site by returning a semantic version of the page to crawlers. All the content in the page stays the same, with added semantic markup.

Let’s say your site is a social network. You want search engines to link to your site like this:

Using Dapper on a profile page will let semantic search engines know that “Jane Doe” is the name of a person, she works for “McDonalds” and that her friends are “Big Joe” and “JemmaB“.

Semantic ahead

The Aurora concept by Adaptive Path is a great example of where we are headed not only in terms of the learning web, but also in user design. Kevin Kelly also discusses the semantic web in his TED talk which describes the next 5,000 years of the web. Kevin describes the web as one machine with the synaptic processing power of the human brain. At the current rate of growth he expects their to be more processing power in the machine than all human brains combined!

So what does this mean?

Web semantics is just another example of the “user first” nature of digital. When we’re creating any form of digital communications relevancy is key. As things like the semantic web become part of daily life consumers will be less and less likely to look at messages that aren’t 100% relevant to them at the point in time they’re looking at them.