Thursday, 18 October 2012

Web 3.0 is here

The above story shows how crowd sourcing has changed the collection of data in the world.

Moscow showing major Wikipedia and Foursquare data

Don't make the mistake of thinking of Web 3.0 as an emerging technology, things move too fast in the internet to even think about emerging: things happen faster than we can even think about them.

Four years ago Web 3.0, that is a web linked with location and mapping data in real time, was a subject of theory and speculation.  I recall being at conferences in 2009 where people wondered if uses would give so much geo-located data away.  Google maps were only a few years old then and the idea of people giving away location data was pretty new.

London showing Yelps, Wikipedia, Foursquare and Twitters, all of this data was crowd sourced.
In about 2 years time the the main centres of the world have been extensively mapped, and done so by the crowed source.  Right now Wikipedia has been extensively geo-tagged by volunteer editors.  Yelp and Foursquare entries have been created.

Not only has data been mapped at amazing speed by the crowd, but also social data bas been mapped.  One can see more and more who likes certain places, what people think of locations, who is there now and various other pieces of lived social data that would have been the reserve of gossip just 5 years ago.

So beyond jus the amazingly accurate information in Google Maps, Open Maps, Bing Maps and some day Apple Maps there is a rich set of layers of information and social meaning which converts the space of map in to the place of a lived world. 

And much of this data is structured in a format that computer programs can use it.  We have developed code to count editions to Wikipedia to see how significant an area is in the cultural and social life of a community.  To count the number of checkins to a location or the average reviews in Yelp.  Revenues are tagged with consistent metadata in Yelp so that computer can guess the kind of community it is looking at.

Foursquare venues and current tweets mapped in Tokyo
Its not that the process of connecting the world the Internet to the real world will happen, or even is happening, to a large extent the infrastructure of a geo-social internet is already fully in place.  That is the world we live in today, the crowd can accomplish the impossible in a matter of months.

The debt of social and real world data connected to the world via maps is already amazing.  Data ranges from tweets between friends going out to major historical data in Wikipedia and everything in between.  This data is served via APIs that use open standards, it is extensively meta-tagged, and much of the data is structured in a way that is machine readable and can be represented as triplet data.

Put simply Web 3.0 is here today. 

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