This week on the blog we're rounding up some of the most thought-provoking stories we've found about the semantic web, and how it's changing the way web users are discovering, interacting with and buying things online.

Over the past week social media strategist Jemima Gibbons mused in The Independent over whether Facebook's advertisers were making the most of the platform's semantic capabilities. Meanwhile Techlightenment's Gi Fernando spoke to CNET about how the social network is establishing an internet grammar both for its users and for companies and brands.

Researchers at the University of Texas pronounced that HBase is the best system at dealing with complex datasets, and blogger Barry O'Gorman wondered just how far the semantic web has progressed to date.

We hope you find the links useful, and if you'd like us to cover any particular aspect of the semantic web in the comments box below.

Does it pay to advertise on Facebook? (The Independent)

"Despite having some very sophisticated technology at their fingertips, advertisers seem phased by the sheer weight of choice. Faced with something approaching the semantic web, it’s a shame they plump for a very un-semantic, old school way of doing things."

Tackling Human Intelligence (Barry O'Gorman's blog)

"I was quite taken by the piece ‘Paul Allen: the singularity is not near’ published this week in MIT’s Technology Review.  Ray Kurzweil’s thoughts on computer systems bypassing human intelligence in the near future are well known and documented.   Paul Allen and Mark Greaves argue strongly that Kurzweil is being over optimistic (depending on your viewpoint).  They include a number of examples from neuroscience and artificial intelligence arguing that we will be a long way sort of Kurzweil’s vision in 2045 – Kurzweil’s date.

"Much of this took me back to the simplicity of what we are trying to achieve in semantics/ semantic web – the heavy lifting.  And it’s not proving very simple.  Yes, the search engines and various semantic tools are presenting improved, cross referenced, even multi-correlated data – but we have an awfully long way to go."

For Storing Web 3.0, HBase has the Edge, Scientific Computing


"A storage system modeled after Google’s BigTable has the edge in data management for next generation Internet and cloud computing users, claim researchers at the University of Texas...

"With their own algorithms to adapt the two database systems, the team found that HBase works faster with larger datasets, a major issue since the Semantic Web comprises vast amounts of tags and descriptions known as metadata."

Parsing Facebook's New Lexicon, CNET interviews Gi Fernando

"The biggest change is Facebook driving toward becoming the semantic web. The semantic web is making sure that the Internet has a dictionary and a grammar that can be understood by consumers, yes, but also by advertisers and brands.

"It's also understanding how people behave on the Web rather than just clicking on stuff: what are they actually doing? You read, watch things, you get instant feedback, your friends can read and watch with you, but then the brand knows what you and 13 others are reading, watching, listening to as well, and you can target advertising based around that. It's a beautiful feedback loop both for the consumer and the brand."