This week Tonya Garcia raises questions about Google's new privacy policy, Roger du Mars discusses the pivotal roles of SQL and NoSQL in the handling of unstructured and big data, and Tim Greene looks at the early reviews of Microsoft's next-generation OS. Lastly, Rip Empson digs deeper into ResearchGate.

Each week we bring you the most thought-provoking news on how the semantic web is changing the way web users discover, interact and exchange online.

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.

Google Privacy Policy Making Info Less Private? - Mediabistro

With one privacy breach, one raised voice from a governing body, or one case of over-stepping that goes viral, Google could squander the trust and goodwill it has built with users. Our fellow Mediabistro blog, Semantic Web, raises the possibility of one of these things happening. Would it have been such a bad thing to wait a bit? That BBC story linked above quotes findings that state nearly half of UK users didn't even know this change was coming. So the confusion that Google claims it was trying to avoid would have been minimal. While this is not a knock-down battle for supremacy, the SQL camp can feel marginalized when discussion turns to improved management of unstructured data. “In recent years data people felt that they needed to move away from SQL to be effective,” said David Menninger, an analyst at Ventana Research in San Ramon, Calif. “However, integrating the two provides the most opportunities.”


Cloaked in secrecy, Microsoft project aims to wed SQL, NoSQL databasesSQL Server

When David DeWitt suggested in October an interest in contributing to a superior database management system, it seemed that a breakthrough was under way. The occasion was the Professional Association for SQL Server’s PASS Summit in Seattle, where DeWitt is a fan favourite and perennial keynote speaker. His central theme: The galaxy of data has come to feature huge swaths of unstructured data, most of which land in the world of NoSQL databases, but the SQL camp should not feel overshadowed. As a veteran SQL expert and Microsoft technical fellow, DeWitt predictably effused about the pivotal role of SQL in the handling of the two types of data.


Windows 8: 'Mission accomplished', 'transcendent', 'unintuitive'Macworld

Early reviews of Windows 8 range from describing it as speedy and elegant to unintuitive, but those who have given the operating system a test drive seem to enjoy the experience. Several point out that Internet Explorer 10 has two versions, one for touchscreen and one for a mouse and keyboard machine, that look and feel very different, which they find disconcerting. Reviewers find remarkable the speed of the platform in responding to commands and of the applications themselves. Here is a sampling from some published reviews with praise and complaints about Windows 8.


Armed With New Funding & A Global Mission, ResearchGate Adds PayPal Co-founder To BoardTechCrunch

At the 2010 TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, Benchmark Capital Partner Matt Cohler took to the stage to talk about the state of the venture capital industry. In so doing, Cohler said that he thought too many investors were becoming focused on risk mitigation, which can often deter investors from going after companies that may be building something really big, trying to change the world — but will be slower to monetize and offer the requisite immediate ROI. He then mentioned that he had recently led an investment in a company called ResearchGate, because when he asked the company’s founder, Ijad Madisch, what would constitute success in his mind, Madish replied, simply, “winning the Nobel Prize.”