The web is outdated
I have suspected for quite some time now that the web is outdated. Now and then Google turns up relevant articles that seem to be just right but after some reading it turns out that they are dated and not relevant anymore. I guess this is fine as long as there is some kind of time stamp on the page. I just searched for music festivals in Europe the summer to come and found this nice list of festivals at about.com. I started reading and got some nice tips for where to go. Then I read that Hultsfred "is one of Europe's summer music festivals that does sell out". Wait a second - they did not sell out last summer - indeed they made a hefty deficit. And Radiohead will not play at Roskilde this summer.... So I scanned the page for any information about when it was written. The only thing I found was a ©2009 at the end together with an alternative headline with a very small font that said "Top 10 Summer Concerts in Europe - Summer Concerts in Europe and Summer Music Festivals in Europe 2008" instead of the title "Hot Summer Concerts and Music Festivals in Europe" that appeared on the top of the page. If I hadn't had some knowledge about last summers festivals I would have had no idea until I started browsing the actual festival sites. Now this case was manageable but imagine 50 years from now with 65 years of searchable and possibly outdated web pages.... and the pain to sort out what is relevant and what is not. Is this the use case where we need the semantic web to save us? Or better search engines? Sometimes I want to get fresh information - sometimes it is fine with whatever. It depends on what I am searching for. Information about tourist sites in Paris won't change much over time whereas information about good restaurants in the same city is a completely different story. This might be where approaches such as Freebase and DBpedia might make a difference in the future. These are now proprietary solutions and definitley need to be standardized to really make a difference. This might have been said about wikipedia as well but that was a smashing success nevertheless. (I blogged about this some time ago.) It is kind of challenging to see that there still are some problems to solve out there. Another one I think of frequently is the need for a new kind of user interface. I might blog about that some other time - until that, get inspired by this nice talk.