Best Technology Innovation, 5 Crunchies Finalists

The Crunchies is a competition to recognize and celebrate the most compelling startups, internet and technology innovations of the year. Amongst the five finalists in the Best Technology Innovation category we have Twine; a semantic web application I’ve been testing for some time.

Read/WriteWeb, GigaOm, VentureBeat and TechCrunch are the organizers of the Crunchies; the nominees and ultimate winners are voted for online (voting has ended, we’re awaiting results). The 5 finalists in the Innovation category are (in no particular order):

  • Twine – Semantic Web App
  • Like – Visual shopping search engine
  • Viewdle – Visual search engine for videos
  • Earthmine – City/environment 3D mapping
  • Move Networks – Streaming internet broadcasting

Read/WriteWeb has a very nice roundup for more information on the finalists, or there’s my older post on Twine.

Using the Twine beta

Twine Logo and SloganI’ve been a user in the Twine private beta for some time now and I definitely think the system has potential, and its the potential that interests me the most. At the moment it’s young and fresh (hence the beta tag); but to watch it expand is exciting, and what additional things the Twine team is brewing guarantees my attention.

So far I’ve got 160 items in there, which includes bookmarks, videos, and notes (I haven’t begun importing from Del.icio.us or others yet). I recently also started using it for taking notes in classes (One of Twine’s features are wiki-like capabilities). That was an idea I’m sure I won’t regret as it makes it easier for me to get a quick overview of all information I have on a specific topic. Plus the system itself helps me out by parsing, auto-tagging and compiling a list of all my referenced weblinks, for example.

Scoble did a video interview with Nova Spivack recently, which included a demo of Twine if you’d like to see it in action. There are two versions; one is an hour long and the other is a 10 minute compilation.

If Twine wins, we win

I’m quite happy to see Twine a finalist (their win would lend credit to a prediction of mine); not only for Twine’s sake but for the sake of semantic web technologies in general. Like I say in the comments on the Read/Write Web post, we need better ways to organize our forever increasing amount of personal information. I’m sick and tired of having my various items dispersed around the web and having to use brute force and tricks to find what I want. I want to be able to consolidate items in one place and have the computer understand better what it is I’m looking for. This is what semantic web tech could potentially provide us with.

Twine could serve as an excellent launchpad for further advances as its creators have openly stated that they intend to harbor 3rd party developers. That is, that they’ll provide proper APIs and tools to get data out of Twine, enriched with metadata so that it can be reused in other applications. Thus my subheading “if Twine wins we win” — in addition to Twine being a good product, I think the underlying technologies could offer a much broader spectrum of spin-off applications and general benefits than the others.

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