free html hit counter disagreeing over more than semantics - John Battelle's Search Blog

disagreeing over more than semantics

By - July 19, 2006

An interesting exchange on the Semantic Web yesterday, when Peter Norvig responded to Tim Bereners-Lee’s presentation on AI. Norvig commented at length (venting some frustration) that the semantic web would facilitate the interloping spam and PageRank manipulation Google faces.

“What I get a lot is: ‘Why are you against the Semantic Web?’ I am not against the Semantic Web. But from Google’s point of view, there are a few things you need to overcome, incompetence being the first,” Norvig said. Norvig clarified that it was not Berners-Lee or his group that he was referring to as incompetent, but the general user.

(CNet story has full quotes, via Resource Shelf)

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4 thoughts on “disagreeing over more than semantics

  1. JG says:

    So, what is the difference between user incompetence in the semantic web, and user incompetence in Web 2.0? Don’t both notions ultimately rely on the user to tag and label data?

    And if Google doesn’t trust ordinary users to do semantic web labeling, does that also mean they don’t trust ordinary users to do Flickr (for example) labeling?

    Does this mean Google is actually anti-Web2.0? (At least, the Web2.0 that O’Reilly defines as “user driven”?)

  2. Umang says:

    Norvig clarified that it was not Berners-Lee or his group that he was referring to as incompetent, but the general user.

    Perhaps he should read The Wisdom Of Crowds

  3. Teddie says:

    JG – possibly. The good point with Web 2.0 is that there is a lot of content being generated very quickly, the problem, aside from the blogs that use XML extensively (RSS, Atom etc) it is mostly in the format of HTML files that need indexing and processing.

    Looking at the moves Google and Yahoo et al are making you have to be pretty understanding of Norvigs frustration, what they all want is to move search on to the next level and to have that same data in decent feed formats that they can manage themselves and process properly, thus taking the traditional view on spidering/indexing out of the equation, and getting us closer to the semantic web.

    However most website owners are not picking up on this. Lets face it, it’s 2007 and I go to meetings with some of the biggest .coms and many still haven’t got their heads around the basic concepts of how a search engine interfaces with their websites, so goodness knows how they are going to handle things like base and coop.

    incompetent – he was putting it politely.

  4. Of course Google is going to defend their algo. A better search engine than Google? I wouldn’t be surprised to see one in the next ten years. Hey, maybe that is why Google is hiring every engineer with a pulse? Why wouldn’t microformating and the semantic web be better than what we have. Even though it’s the best we have Google still has lots of serious problems with relevancy, indexing and spam. No matter what search platform you have there will be people who attempt to game it. I look forward to the day users can decide for themselves which they prefer.