Semantic Web or: why Yahoo! resisted Microsoft’s takeover

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With the recent announcement from Yahoo and subsequent flurry of posts that followed, something became clear to me. Yahoo! didn’t accept Microsoft’s offer because it had an ace card up its sleeve. Semantic technology.

With this sort of tech, who needs Microsoft or even Google for that matter? Yahoo! is positioned to leapfrog what has been possible in a Web 2.0 world. I have previously blogged about Peter Mika’s launch of microsearch which was a test bed for the upcoming SearchMonkey launch. SearchMonkey will allow for global scale and fast access to almost all forms of metadata on the web.

In a post last month I mused that Yahoo or Microsoft might be the first to embrace the Data Web/Semantic Web. It is now clear that Yahoo! has taken the lead in the war for the next generation of the Web.

Linked data is king

Yahoo! maintains a large network of content. Flickr is the most used photo sharing site on the Web. With a flip of the switch (well, maybe a bit more complicated then that) all of Yahoo’s content could become a giant graph ready to be semantically mined by SearchMonkey. This is a huge strategic benefit to Yahoo, something Google nor Microsoft could match.

Overnight, Yahoo could become the biggest linked data client in the world — Ready to plug into the next generation of web sites like Twine, Dbpedia, Freebase, Revyu and every installation of Drupal 7 (due next year, thanks Dries).

copyright wikipedia

The execs at Yahoo! have to be really loving this stuff. More accurate search results, more finding of what I want — all for free. Just by using a little thing called RDF and embedded metadata like microformats and RDFa. And us poor saps are going to be doing the work for them :)

I can just hear them now (even from my little corner of the Queensland coast) repeating the immortal words of the A-Team’s Hannibal…

“I love it when a plan comes together”

David PetersonDavid Peterson
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