Sunday, April 02, 2006

My FOAF Comments

The Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project is certainly worth a look. It attempts to provide some basic machinery to help us “tell the Web about the connections between the things that matter to us”. People are one special case of these “things”, so from this perspective, FOAF has similar motivation to UPI (Unique Personal Identificator).

I have however one issue with this system. To my opinion, it is not feasible to try to put condensed personal information (relations to other people or activities) into one short static descriptor. It will never be exact; it stays static over the time and still requires quite a lot of work from participating users. To my opinion, another approach makes better sense: to uniquely identify the user and let him freely work and use the internet. As a result, enough information will be created during a time. This information will then allow any (competing) web engine to create on the fly “FOAF-like” identificators that are however dynamically evolving over the time. In addition, these “dynamic FOAFs” can be then focused and optimized to a particular purpose.

I am sure that the UPI approach, which we are going to describe in the next post, can eventually fulfill the FOAF Goals, but can even strive for something more...

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