There are certain things that I pray for before going to sleep. Boxee was one of them. But I do not pray for yet another search engine. I’m good like that. However, if you are going to try to get me to covert from just Googling everything, you are going to need to try hard.
Additionally, I have noticed a rise in helpful in-text provided links and information. For instance, if you go to the New York Times (my paper of choice) you can click on anyone’s name and be linked to a whole bevy of information about them. Well, if they are important enough.
Dear New York Times,
Everyone is important to someone.
I know what they are going to answer.
We love having you as a reader. You make our job of tracking reader trends really fun.
You are able to click on any word in our articles, and get relevant information, definitions and more.
The New York Times
They are right. I can click on Kabul, and learn everything about it in the dictionary, encyclopedia, geography, and what the weather is there. But when I click on Kadima, they’ve got nothing. Nada. Perhaps, I should blame Answers.com for that. But it’s not their fault. There is no encyclopedic entry for Kadima. It’s apparently not old enough yet, and hasn’t made any world changing decisions. Additionally, I also would love to know what friends I have in either Kabul or Kadima.
Which is where headup comes into play. It was launched by TechAviv IL member Tal Keinan and is the first example of the engine that his company Semantinet created. Yes, I know that you avid readers of TechAviv will gleefully point out that this was covered before. But, as headup is now in public beta, we figured that this was cheaper than sending a cake.
headup is a firefox add-on that lets you click on words and then see where the semantic web takes you.
The semantic web, for those who don’t know, is where No Doubt meets Vampire Weekend. If you are still scratching you head, I’ll explain. The semantic web links together things that make sense together. You search for flour, and a notice for eggs come on your online shopping list, because there are millions of recipes that call for both flour and eggs together. The semantic web understands what you are searching for by context, and returns contextually relevant information. Just like if I search for the word “tweet”, I am probably not searching for the 1971-born American R&B singer. Or to the onomatopoeia emitted by small birds.
But headup takes this one step further. It incorporates all this information with all your existing social ties. Meaning, if you click on Pink, in addition to it giving you relevant information about the singer (as there were two other bands named on this page), it will also list which of my friends like her music, have blogged about her music, or attended her concerts.
You can get the headup on anyone famous or not. So reading the New York Times or TechAviv will be a lot simpler from now on.
In it’s next version, which will be out in two weeks, headup will be also analyzing Twitter accounts. This is extremely helpful to someone like me. This enables me to be able to find out with a single click to learn about a twitterer, without having to go to Google, and without closing the page or opening a new tab. In one click, you can access video interviews with the intended individual.
There are many companies, especially in Israel, trying to jump onto the semantic web bandwagon, which has been coined Web 3.0. One reason why I like headup is because I am a user. Sure, they have a cool technology, but now, they are trying to increase the user experience and usability.
This is from the first wave of many similar semantic products to come. The engine isn’t perfect, but they are constantly working on making it better. That’s why it’s in Beta. Google wasn’t built in a day, either.
I think that this may make life a tad easier.
Oh, and they don’t store any personal information on their servers. So think Google, just slightly more helpful and slightly less possibility for corporate evil.