Increasingly, we are seeing a new breed of Semantic Applications, which we generalize as shortcuts.
This category includes SnapShots from Snap, BlueOrganizer and SmartLinks from AdaptiveBlue, Shortcuts from Yahoo!, and In-text search from Lingospot.
What is common between all these technologies is that they leverage the simple semantics of the content to deliver additional information. In the case of Snap and AdaptiveBlue, the semantics is defined by the URL, while Yahoo! and Lingospot perform text analysis.
Regardless of the method, all of these technologies deliver related information via Ajax popups. That is, they leverage semantics to pull the information from the web. This is essentially discovery or
reverse search. When the user is looking at a book there is a preview with a brief description and the cover image, when the user encounters a stock symbol he is presented with a stock chart, analysis and additional links to the company, when the user is looking at a music album there is a play button, and when the user encounters a movie there is an ability to watch the trailer in place. The shortcuts remove the need to search, instead, the related content from the web comes right into the page.
Today’s shortcut technologies are simple and still in their infancy, but they are among the most successful examples of semantic applications.
However, we can not call them the killer app for several reasons.
First, people perceive them as advertising, which is not the point. Snap certainly made an early push into ads, but this is not a representation of what these technologies will look like in the future.
Second, in their current implementation, all of these technologies are utilities. For the same reason that people are not going to get emotional about personal knowledge management, they will not be
emotional about shortcuts. Shortcuts will also be taken for granted.
Yet, shortcuts hold the most promise. With a few more iterations these technologies are going to get slicker and more precise. They will leverage content and micro-context to reduce the amount of search. They will become more personalized based on user behavior. And once this happens it will be a big deal.
Interesting article continues @ analogburn