While stories are regularly written about how far away the glorious notion of the Semantic Web is, semantic search, which among other things discerns relationship between queries, is very much on the menu.
Semantic search startup Hakia June 19 made its Syndication Web Services APIs available to search engine marketing or publishing businesses and others that want to provide their users with better ways of finding information.
Syndication Web Services includes a customizable XML feed designed to serve the long tail of content that doesn't make it in the top 10 or 20 of Google's results.
This feed includes results from the World Wide Web, news articles for a given query, and vertical search for health, sports or other topics.
There is also a summarizing tool that provides a snapshot of a text block or URL, a categories tool to identify terms from a given text, a characterization tool to pinpoint phrases, keywords or tags, and a text meaning representation utility for a given text block.
Hakia is offering 30,000 free (and advertising-free) searches per day to early adopters until the partners' quota is filled.
Hakia's first public partner is Berggi, whose new mobile search application leverages the Hakia feed, is compatible with AT&T and Sprint phones, and can be downloaded here.
Berggi CEO Babur Ozden pointed out the obvious in a statement, noting that the ability to search the Web from mobile phones will soon be a key consumer need as people do more with their cell phones on the go.
This is already happening thanks to Apple's iPhone and Google's passel of Web applications optimized for that popular gadget, of which the second version, iPhone 3G, debuted earlier in June.
Google Search on mobile devices is just one way the company hopes to expand its mobile advertising purview, but Hakia said it believes it will provide more accurate results through Berggi using its semantic approach.
This remains to be seen, but my view is that these search startups are positioning themselves to be bought by a larger vendor because they know they can't touch Microsoft or Yahoo, let alone Google, in general search.
A more likely scenario could be for Google or Microsoft to acquire a company like Hakia, or Powerset, or any of the other semantic search startups, to bolster its search capabilities for long-tail content, such as blogs and niche sites that don't have the marketing or keyword clout.
Yahoo is already allowing programmers to leverage semantic search through its SearchMonkey platform, so don't be shocked if Google, Microsoft or even Ask.com jumps on the semantic search bandwagon.