Rating Google glasses for UI innovation

Should the industry take “Project Glass” seriously? Does Google have a truly disruptive user interface technology in its labs? Project Glass aligns with critical UI factors, and it plays to Google’s strengths in user interface and its data, mapping and communications expertise, so don’t dismiss it lightly.

Today in Social

My colleague Colin Gibbs, like other observers, spins some survey data on usage of Apple’s Siri voice-based “concierge” in a correctly conservative fashion. Siri isn’t being used as widely as its hype and Apple’s advertising would suggest. And Colin illustrates use cases where voice isn’t ideal. But Siri isn’t just voice recognition and input. And output: Siri’s verbal feedback gets more attention for jokes than for its potential to present faceted search results or ask for more guidance. Behind the scenes, Siri is evaluating which source to search, which app to input data into, and lots of semantic context behind the command. As fellow curator Paul Sweeting points out, Siri will need to integrate with many other apps before it achieves game-changer status. And I wrote that Google didn’t seem to have too much to worry about in mobile search. Yet. Sure, Apple marketing has to balance between raising consumer expectations too high and raising awareness for how to use Siri. Don’t underestimate that “training.” If consumers learn how to actually turn Siri into their personal agents, the UI ramifications – especially for multipurpose devices – will be widespread.

The personalized web is just an interest graph away

You know how our social graphs are creeping into every aspect of our web lives, from search results to coupons? Well, get ready for something a lot more personal, a lot more targeted and, perhaps, a lot more creepy.

Today in Social

The Wall Street Journal goes big – and many sites pick it up – with what may be a non-story. Google’s Amit Singhal talks a lot about semantic search, faceted search results and answers rather than blue links. But as search expert Danny Sullivan points out, we’ve heard a lot of this before. Or that most of what’s in the Journal story already exists. Is this PR or real indications of product direction? Google doesn’t make changes on its core search results page often. Sure, Siri could be a threat in mobile search, but I doubt Google is all that worried about WolframAlpha results. I’d recommend taking this story with a large lump of rock salt.

Two Startups Point To Semantic Search’s Future

Turning big, opaque datasets into online databases you can query is a worthy pursuit. Two new startups I met recently, Semantifi and FindTheBest, promise to reveal the hidden secrets of the web by understanding them semantically. They’re both using human power to format topic-specific web applications.

Swift River: Trying to Filter the Social Web Firehose

Anyone who has tried to track dozens of Twitter streams or hundreds of Facebook updates simultaneously knows the social web can be an intimidating ocean of information. A startup called Swift River is trying to find ways of filtering and understanding that ocean in real time.

Will Twitter Annotations Jump-Start the Semantic Web?

Among the announcements at Twitter’s first “Chirp” conference was the launch of a new feature called Annotations. But unlike some of the other features announced there, Annotations aren’t so much a product as a substantial rethinking of the way the service functions on a fundamental level.

BlackBerry Buzz: BIS Down for the Count; TwitterBerry Gone

It’s Tuesday and that can only mean it’s time for our weekly feature, BlackBerry (s rimm) Buzz. The Buzz is where you’ll find out what’s been going on in the BlackBerry brambles. You’ll hear about everything that’s worth knowing in the awesome world of the BlackBerry. In the not so good category it seems BlackBerry owners were confronted with a global Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) outage on Monday. The outage crossed carriers and left many owners, as many as 75 percent being reported, without the ability to connect to the web. Service was spotty or nonexistent for hours.
One of the top Twitter apps for the ‘Berry has been TwitterBerry, according to Twitter stats. The program has stagnated and not been updated in a while, and it turns out the developer was changing things a bit. The program is now dubbed OpenBeak, and it is deemed the result of an evolution of TwitterBerry. It has a lot of features, and is donation-ware so if you like it, pay something.
Not exactly news, but a major event at home has crossed into the BlackBerry world. My spouse bought her first smartphone this week and she chose the BlackBerry Curve on Verizon (s vz). She was as excited as can be when she brought the Curve home and started learning all the “cool things” it can do. Unfortunately, she brought it home during the BIS outage and couldn’t use any web apps to really test it out. It will be fun to watch her become a Crackberry with her new Curve. I should point out that she has seen many smartphones come through the office here, yet she chose the Curve after trying it in the store.

How the Semantic Web Will Redefine Digital Music

Monday’s SanFran MusicTech Summit featured a host of informative panels dealing with the ways technology is transforming the music industry. One thread concerned how music companies are using the so-called “Semantic Web,” the field of web data from which actual meaning can be derived through analysis and machine learning. Most prominently, recommendation engines, messaging startups, marketing organizations and data reporting agencies are all using the Semantic Web to improve their understanding of both music content and artist reputations, improving the knowledge base of an industry known for traditionally poor market research and analysis. Read More about How the Semantic Web Will Redefine Digital Music

Powerset vs. Cognition: A Semantic Search Shoot-out

While Powerset unquestionably has some interesting and valuable semantic search technology, there are other semantic search engines that produce equally meaningful and relevant results.
In this post, we compare Powerset results with those of a demo implementation from one such search engine, Cognition Technologies. And we compare them both with the current gold standard in web search, Google.