April 2008

Mega-mash-up technology for seamless web

It is not clear how automation will use ubiquitous information and all-encompassing networking, but the industry thrives on data and access.

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, predicts the "Google of the future" will use a type of "mega-mash-up" technology where information is taken from one place and made useful in another context using the web.

Existing "mash-ups," such as programs that plotted the location of every Starbucks in a city using Google maps, were a start, he said in an interview with Times Online (The Times of London), but they were limited because a separate application had to be built each time a new service was imagined.

"In the semantic web, it's like every piece of data is given a longitude and latitude on a map, and anyone can 'mash' them together and use them for different things."

Google developed an extremely effective way of searching for pages on the internet, Berners-Lee said, but that ability paled in comparison to what is possible on the "web of the future," which he said would allow any piece of information, such as a photo or a bank statement, to be linked to any other.
Berners-Lee said in the same way, the "current craze" for social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace would eventually give way to networks that connected all types of things-not just people-thanks to a groundbreaking technology known as the "semantic web."

An example of how the semantic web would work: "Imagine if two completely separate things like your bank statements and your calendar spoke the same language and could share information with one another.

You could drag one on top of the other, and a whole bunch of dots would appear showing you when you spent your money.

"If you still weren't sure of where you were when you made a particular transaction, you could then drag your photo album on top of the calendar, and be reminded that you used your credit card at the same time you were taking pictures of your kids at a theme park.

Therefore, you would know not to claim it as a tax deduction.

"It's about creating a seamless web of all the data in your life."

One expected application is in the pharmaceutical industry, where previously unconnected pieces of research into a drug or disease, could coalesce.