- John Blossom, in a 2011-03-24 post, “Will Fluid Flow to Reality?”, sees Fluidinfo having to contend with Google. The comparison is with the Google properties served by APIs. While there might be a collision of some sort, I don’t think the comparison is apt. For one thing, we don’t have to take any active part in Google’s aggregation of data and delivery of search results. With Fluidinfo, we (or software that acts for us) are the submitters of “semantic” metadata and we are the ones that have to identify the kinds of our items and what other Fluidinfo-represented entity the data items are related/relevant to. In effect, we are the curators and the aggregation belongs to Fluidinfo, not us.
- If this is the semantic web, it means we are its crowd-source curators and I don’t see how that scales from Fluidinfo as we know of it today. We have other things to do in our lives and having someone else derive the semantic web is confounded by fine-grained nature of Fluidinfo and the permissions model at that level. On the other hand, it is shocking that Fluidinfo structures aren’t seen as easily related to RDF.
- In passing, it is clear that Fluidinfo is not a Facebook competitor either. Certainly Facebook holds relationships and connections for us, the appeal being their relevance to our personal social interests. But we don’t have to curate much and the privacy/permissions model is Facebook’s, not ours. Nowhere does Facebook expose anything as fine-grained as the individual attribute and relationship items of Fluidinfo. That’s all behind the curtain.
- I can imagine a Facebook-like system having a Fluidinfo-style database somewhere underneath, but it would not be exposed to its users and I doubt the service would every expose a Fluidinfo API. I can’t conceive of the property rights delegating or elevating in any way for that to work.
- Dylan Love, in his 2011-03-14 summary of Tim O’Reilly’s SXSW interview by Jason Calconis, suggests that Fluidinfo is comparable to Wikipedia on a larger scale.
- I disagree that Fluidinfo is like a wiki[pedia], even though the developers imagine differently. For one thing, Fluidinfo entries are editable by anyone. You can only edit your own little bits. In addition, wikis are versioned and the curation of a wiki involves managing the structure and providing a means of navigation and discovery. The dance is very different as is the support to discovery of places to put things, other places to hook up to. Fluidinfo’s not even a wiki based on micro-content, since the micro-level permissions would be a nightmare.
- Although it is not clear how well the FluidDB handles unstructured text in sizable chunks, I can imagine Fluidinfo usage for a kind of FriendFeed that has annotations of others, some private to others, some shared with the originator of an object, some shared with those who can see that object, etc.
The Fluidinfo team is rapidly constructing demonstrations of what can be done, with impressive results. There are new tools that might help one understand the kinds of structures being used, such as the Fluidinfo Explorer.
It appears that, as much as I am wary of Fluidinfo, the way to wrestle this elephant to the ground is to try it. Fluidinfo … Like a Virgin?