Will Social Media & Google Search Merge Into Semantic Web?

While this week's big news is Facebook's new messaging system and how how it will become Google's Gmail killer, I think the bigger story is how other Internet enterprises are taking Google's core business of Internet search to another level. If the next iteration of the Web is Semantic Technology, why isn't the Big G focusing on the future and what it does best. Today's skirmishes in Web 2.0 are small stuff compared to the bigger battle of Web 3.0 domination.

A decade ago, when Google first started to compete with the likes of Lycos and other search firms that no longer exist today, it dominated the space by becoming best at what it did. It crawled the Web faster and it consistently improved, enhanced and fine-tuned its algorithms to stay ahead of the pack. Eleven years later, and Google still garners more than 2X marketshare to its closest competitors - Yahoo and Bing (dependent on what research report you are referring to).

It's also been determined where Google does not shine. As much as it's tried, it does not seem to have the  ability to develop a social network comparable to Facebook or Twitter. In my recent post, "Google Me Silly - Does Google Have The 'Social Networking' Gene," I explored its failed attempts at Google Buzz and the much heralded, but never launched 'Google Me' platform.

So my question is this: If Web 2.0 is transitioning into Web 3.0 why isn't Google ahead of that curve and focusing all its efforts on the Semantic Web - a technology more akin to traditional search than social networking? If this is where the industry is headed (and it seems to be so, according to most reports) - then why isn't the Grandaddy of search engines concentrating on the future versus the present?

In the graphic novel, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks," a satirical tale unfolds that actually sees Facebook taking the lead. Portraying Google (aka Gobble) as the Internet laggard, in a stalled position - Z-Man (aka Mark Zuckerberg) takes his social network Facebucks (aka a Facebooks) to the next level of Web domination.

Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novelPage from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel

This week, a small start-up semantic technology firm launched. In a ReadWriteWeb article, Marshall Kirkpatrick reports on search service 80Legs and the language processing service Language Computer Corporation merging to create Extractiv, a web crawling and semantic analysis platform that can search and analyze 100,000 pages of the Web in seconds. Doesn't that sound like something Google is capable of?

Kirkpatrick describes the newly created company as "an incredible vision of the future (that includes) DIY analysis of bulk data produced by user-generated content… and sentiment analysis." 

Extractiv is only one of many start-ups that are entering the Semantic Web space. Ampliverse, SciVerse and Exalead are just a few of the others pushing the envelope in this field. The question is why isn't Google leading the pack? 

To give the monolithic search company credit, (unbeknownst to the public) it might be secretly doing its due diligence and research before releasing when and where it might grab a foothold with this new technology. However waiting too long, while the first-movers are infiltrating might not be its wisest move.

Time will tell if the Big G might only be a footnote when describing the evolution of the Web at the turn of the new century - or whether it might embrace semantic technology as a focus and continue to be an Internet front-runner in decades to come.

For other related posts on "Web 3.0," and "Semantic Technology," check out some of my previous posts: