Pondering Semantic Applications: New vs. Reinvention
I read David Provost’s report from September 2008 entitled “On The Cusp: A Global Review of the Semantic Web Industry” and it got me re-thinking how Semantic companies gain adoption through the creation of applications utilizing their Semantic technologies.
It seems to me that Semantic companies have to do one of two things to create value in an application:
1) Innovate a completely new application. This puts Semantic companies in competition with every single Web/Software company and entrepreneur out there, not just the other Semantic companies. Plus, companies have to compete against the noise of tens of thousands of Web apps already out there.
2) Improve upon existing apps that do not use Semantics (and show such an improvement that users can immediately see a difference). I would argue that here Twine is going to face an uphill battle (and I like Twine!). They’re a social network/”interest” application that is directly competing against many large social networks and Web discovery companies (eg Digg). But to be successful, they must compete for, and win over, a technology agnostic audience. This audience couldn’t care less about Semantics for Semantics’ sake, and Twine ends up competing against Facebook’s feature set and already huge network effect.
Both of these approaches are challenging.
What Semantic applications would you like to see?