Like the Man Said…

In our June interview with Tim Berners-Lee, he predicted that the initial "Killer App" for the Semantic Web (like the original Web) might be corporate use on intranets. Guess what kind of tool Fujitsu just announced?

In June, the theme for my Consortium Standards Bulletin was The Future of the Web, and featured a lengthy interview with Tim Berners-Lee on the Semantic Web. The article is now linked under Publications at the W3C Semantic Web Activity Page


Many of the questions in that interview focused on when and how the Semantic Web would come into being, due to the fact that vendors haven’t yet discerned ways to quickly make a lot of money on a semantically-enabled Web. Tim has been there before, and says it will happen, from the bottom up. (I agreed, in the Web of Dreams, the editorial in that issue).


One Q&A was the following, in which Tim made a prediction based on the roll out of the Web:

CSB: People talk about a “Killer App” for the Semantic Web, and you rightly point out that the Semantic Web itself is the Killer App. Still, there has to be an incentive for people to encode semantically and create agents, so there seems to at least be a chicken and egg issue. Does a company like Google have to commit to semantic browsing before the Semantic Web takes off?


TBL: I think that for many companies it may be that the killer app is an intranet. Many of the early WWW servers were inside the firewalls. The valuable data is company-confidential, and it is much safer to experiment with new technology in private! One computer company had, I think, 100 web servers internally before it had a public one.


Well, guess what? It looks like Fujitsu thinks so too. Here’s an excerpt from a piece that ran in InfoWorld this week, under the title Fujitsu software tackles enterprise information:

Fujitsu is developing two applications that could help enterprises make better use of their data and better handle information flowing into the company.

The first is a search tool for the “semantic Web,” which refers to a web of interconnected servers filled with information that is tagged so it can be easily understood by machines. Called the Business Information Navigator, Fujitsu’s (Profile, Products, Articles) tool seeks to use this metadata to spot relationships between documents spread throughout an organization and deliver search results that are more focused than is currently possible with a simple text search.


The idea is that with better tagging and more metadata, such as XML (extensible markup language) and RDF (resource description framework), an enterprise could derive much more value from its data. Fujitsu’s Navigator will both run through the documents and attempt to automatically tag them and works as a search engine for this tagged data.

As previously promised, I’ll continue to cover evidence of the roll out of the Semantic Web. You can sort for posts on that subject using the Semantic & NextGen Web links in the Some Topics I’m Following link here and at the News Portal