What’s Next: Opening Data

26176007_9e02f41d59 With social media tied to technology and lots of geek speak, monitoring trends can be confusing. In some ways, for marketers it’s easier to keep you mind on exactly where your community resides. But inevitably, the eye wanders to the horizon.  So far, the biggest trend in 2008 seems to be the drive to open data (Image Credit: Autowitch).

A few years ago, Tim O’Reilly dubbed this “democratizing data” for use across the World Wide Web.” Years later,democratization continues to develop as one of the hottest trends in 2008.

We’ve become social, but we have lots of unmined data across the web, and siloed applications, forcing users to create a new account every where they go online. Without open data, the web’s next generation of applications (dubbed Web 3.0 by some) will have a hard time advancing.

Consider these three major initiatives revolve around opening data for the next generation of data driven web applications :

Semantic Web applications continue to command mindshare as they deliver better content results and make better data connections. These semantic data driven apps need open information for:

  • Search engines like Hakia and Powerset
  • Wikipedia-like efforts like Twine and Freebase
  • Applications that use semantic technologies under the hood (such as AdaptiveBlue and Snap).

Open ID as represented by efforts like Open Social and the Data Portability initiative presents a new opportunity for the next generation of software – particularly in the fields of social software, user rights and interoperability. More importantly, the ability to transfer user profiles across social networks, in turn creating a dynamic and fluid environment for online personalities. Ensuring open protocols for data transfer will be essential to facilitating success.

GeoWeb applications (covered in the Future Cometh in Now Is Gone) continue to tantalize the search and Enterprise 2.0 analysis marketplaces. With more than 85% of data tied to geographic location, all of the major web map players are seeking ways to make this data more useful to enterprises, institutions and consumers alike. Creating “intelligent maps” relies on the ability to harness and convert widespread data across the Internet, government bodies, NGOs and enterprises, a continuing issue in the web map marketplace.

In the long-run, open data allows for great marketing, creating more intelligent, productive initiatives for both the customer and the company. So keep your eyes out for opening data stories.