Today, Amir Efrati from the Wall Street Journal reported on how Google is increasingly looking to fulfill the promise of the Semantic Web as a means of maintaining their dominant market share in search while jostling for position in the overall struggle for online mindshare (with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

For those of us who have been buried in Internet technology for the past decade (or longer), the concept of a Semantic Web should be relatively familiar.  In fact, I can remember discussing how the concept of the Semantic Web was going to be impacting clients over seven years ago while at v-Fluence – but it always seemed to be just over the horizon.

In the past several years, I’ve seen more and more actual real world evidence that a broader shift towards a more Semantic Web is finally upon us.   Most notably, I’ve seen how Google has begun to actually use semantic markup, based off various schemas outlined on in search-engine results pages, by displaying AggregateRating for approved sites.

I think more is in store as Google attempts to evolve the results pages to make use of the increasing volume of semantic data they are able to aggregate.  For companies that make a living off the Web (and off Google), it should become imperative to take a closer look at how this shift may impact their business.

Marking up the Web is going to be a painstaking process (particularly for larger organizations) and I think there is going to be some very interesting business opportunities to help larger companies adopt standards.  The most obvious (in my opinion) seems to be applying some blend of natural language processing (NLP) and light human curation to automate the process of adding a layer of semantic information to Web content.

What do you think?