The Semantic Puzzle

Andreas Blumauer

Has Google hi-jacked the Semantic Web?

Just recently GoogleGoogle Inc. is a multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. The company was ... has launched the ‘Knowledge Graph‘ (GKG) which “understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings.” Has Google hi-jacked the idea of the ‘Semantic Web’ or at least its vocabulary?

Sean Golliher has compared the most central concepts of the SemWeb community to the wording of Google in his blog post, for instance: Google doesn´t talk about ‘Linked data’ or ‘URIs’ but rather about ‘things and their relationships’. We don´t know if Google uses standards like RDF but obviously a lot of concepts and ideas developed by the SemWeb community in recent years were implemented in GKG. Some people complain that Google should clearly state that this is an implementation of the ‘Semantic Web’ (which was not invented by Google), others say that most concepts like ‘taxonomies’ have been around for hundreds of years anyway.

I believe that both sides have now a great chance to work together: Whether Google’s goal, to “build the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligenceCollective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making in bacteria, animals, humans and computer networks. The idea emerged from the writings of Douglas Hofstadter (1979), Peter ... of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do”, can be reached or not is a matter of the intelligence of the employees. A lot of potential can be found within the semantic web community: If Google gives credit where it is due, semantic web people will be a bit more inspired to support an eco-system built around GKG – and it won´t last long until an ‘Open Knowledge Graph’ will fit together with Google´s revenue model.