- From thinking that cables and wires mattered to thinking that the computers connected to them were more important
- From thinking that computers were important to thinking that documents residing on the computers were important
- From thinking that documents were important to thinking that the things document discussed were important
This last stage is burgeoning right now: transforming useful graphs of information such as the social graph of who is friends with whom into an open format that can be used by any site: full data portability. In the medium term, this will bring higher quality traffic to sites whilst enabling users to worry less about (for instance) whether they’ve joined Plaxo, facebook, Gmail, digg, LinkedIn or Skype but to enable a new site to access their social graph easily.
Plaxo, Facebook and Google joined in the data portability project not so ago. More recently, news arrived that Yahoo! Search are starting to crawl for common RDF vocabularies and microformats is a massive step in the right direction. So far, many efforts to make the Semantic Web have been hard to kick-start. In a recent podcast, Peter Mika from Yahoo! Research uses the analogy of the chicken and the egg. Do you start pumping out data in semantic web formats or do you start creating apps that use the data to do something useful? Peter says: “we start building a chicken farm” by getting Yahoo! Search to crawl the web for the semantic data, baking that into more relevant and useful search results for users that direct better quality traffic to the host sites.