Today I stumbled upon a list of top ten semantic web products of 2008 (according to ReadWriteWeb), which is interesting alone because of the varying range of the products listed. There is for instance a blogging helping browser extension (Zemanta) right next to an API providing semantic analysis of texts (OpenCalais). Another interesting point to me is that there seems to be somewhat contradictory directions: while some, e.g. Yahoo with it’s SearchMonkey, seem to go into the direction of open access, others like Hakia are strictly closed-shop approaches. It will be very interesting to see where future development will be headed, given that knowledge is not necessarily a unique thing — as can be easily seen in the many different ontologies that have been built or in the edit wars going on in Wikipedia. Probably these differences might go hand in hand with company size or profit — the odd start up is as well on the list as large corporations. I don’t like to sound like Cassandra, but given the recent financial crisis, I sincerly hope that the precious and small commercial flowers won’t starve in another AI winter 2.0.

But perhaps there is a chance that open source approaches bring some movement — today I also happened to learn about Nepomuk, a “Networked Environment for Personalized, Ontology-based Management of Unified Knowledge” — that happens to be integrated in the latest KDE version 4.0. Although, from what I hear from my KDE using friends, none of them seems to love that particular integration, but I can’t judge whether that has more to do with the backend or the integration.

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