How we plan to make the Web smarter…

The Web is a blend of technical resources, functionalities and usage patterns: all of these dimensions make it the medium we all love. This article is about Interact Egypt (and its holding company IO10), WordPress and the Semantic Web.

And before I start describing our latest effort on how to make the Web smarter…

I have to admit it was my idea to add the naive slogan “we love the Internet” in our new meetup group name – and yes I really believe Egypt does have a crucial role in leading the next wave of innovations after #jan25 and the Arab Spring and…this is also the  reason I’m so proud of investing in Egypt these days.

Now getting back to our scope I’d like to start with one question for all of you:

Why is Google buying from IBM U.S. Patent 7,865,592 and what really is a semantic network?

The news that just  came out these days informs us that Big G purchased a patent from IBM to shape the next generations of social networks and to lead users finding “experts” or like-minded enthusiasts on specific topics using semantic technologies. Now a semantic networks is a form of knowledge representation. And this acquisition proves that we’re ready (or nearly ready) to find and access Web sites and Web resources not by keywords, as Google and the other search engines have being doing in the last 20 years, but by descriptions of their contents and capabilities. “The semantic web is an extension of the current web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation” (Tim Berners-Lee).

Why we decided to contribute building the Semantic Web (or Web of Data) with a WordPress Plugin?

WordPress today is the largest blogging platform on the Planet, it runs 12% of the top 1 million largest websites and powers 20% of the new website launched in the States and this is why we had no choice when few months ago we decided our mission was to bring Semantic Web technologies mainstream. IO10 (Interact Egypt’s mother company) joined the pioneering team of IKS (a european founded research project), started contributing to the open-source project called Apache Stanbol (a stack of reusable software modules for semantic web content management) and developed WordLift. The idea behind it is quite simple:

WordLift reads the text of your post and pages, understands it,  adds context and meaningful data using vocabulary  (this is a set of tags all major search engines will recognize) and help you boost SEO on your website.

Simple and effective we went live this past August and since then we had over 693 downloads; we won the Semantic UX Contest and secured the founding to move the project further (a website of WordLift was born in the meanwhile).

What’s next? Meet the innovators!

Unleashing the power of semantic technologies with a bottom-up approach (starting from blogs and websites) means creating a long tail of valuable semantic networks, providing everyone with open-source tools to make web content more useful, and sharing interests and knowledge in a democratic way. A medium that is complete, democratic and democratized is a medium that lets everyone organize data as it is received. With the continuos growth of spontaneous information sharing platforms (and social networks) everyone shall be able to coordinate his/her views with various communities and to organize content efficiently. The trend toward opening up data and semantic technologies is changing the web’s core structure and the means of accessing it.

We want to embrace these changes and we want to do it with Egypt’s brightest digital revolutionaries and this is why you’re all welcome to join our first meetup this coming monday!


Andrea Volpini

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