Saturday, July 10, 2010

operator brings semantics to firefox

I just came across operator, a firefox add-on for recognizing microformats and I have to say I'm impressed. I think this is a pretty big step in the right direction for the semantic web.

As far as the semantic web goes, I've always been kind of on-the-fence regarding the human annotation versus automated statistical approaches. I'm still not convinced either will win out. It seems unlikely that every web author will annotate all their pages -- and yet, I'm not sure machine learning approaches will ever be able to accurately annotate things automatically.

But with all of the generated pages out there, having just a few of the big ones support microformats, and browser support for recognizing those pages is a really big step. For example, linkedin already returns profile pages in hresume format. With operator, you can extract names, phone numbers, addresses, and event information easily.

Update: operator doesn't seem to work in firefox 4 beta, but I think we can forgive that for now.


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