Monrai Blog

News about Cypher, Semantic Web, Natural Language Processing, and Computational Linguistics

Monday, August 14, 2006

Centralized Approach?

I ran across a centralized RDF search engine. Swoogle. From the site:

Swoogle has a collection of over 1M error-free RDF documents collected from the Web and an additional ~700K documents that have embedded RDF, are malformed but appear to be RDF, or are no longer accessible. We’ve intentionally limited the number of simple RSS and FOAF documents in the current collection.

A centralized database has obvious benefits, in an ideal world, a Google would crawl RDF documents and serve up queries through one central interface. But RDF isn't HTML, nor does SPARQL lend itself to any sort of straight-forward keyword mappings. Building a centralized database to process billions of open-ended queries per day is a mammoth undertaking. It appears that Google, who perhaps is the only company on the planet with enough imagination, incentive, and expertise to effectively build such a centralized database, is also the company who is most skeptical about the viability of the Semantic Web. The Semantic Web may also pose inherit threats to Google, who has built its empire on algorithms which attempt to address the deficiencies of the unstructured World Web Web.

I therefore believe that the path of least resistance for bootstrapping the Semantic Web will be a P2P network, or at the very least, a hybrid between the two. Swoogle seems like a great first attempt, and I'll be watching out for progress made by this and other centralized attempts, but I'd sooner bank on distributed P2P approaches.


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