THE SEMANTIC LEAK
Leander Kahney of Wired looks into the nascant and so far cloaked relationship developing between Google and freshly-acquired Pyra Labs in this article, quoting Chris Cleveland -- CEO of a Chicago-based software firm that had previously enjoyed a research relationship with Pyra -- who posits that we may be "...taking a couple of baby steps down the road of what some have called the semantic Web...where computers can understand, at some level, the meaning and context of a Web page or blog post."
There is also lots of hyper-gushing about rich site summary technologies, and how it or subsequent and/or competing variations thereon will glue the web together for our children and posterity. This represents a continuing trend of denoising the web, as discussed in this article on emergent democracy and the changing face of the vox populi.
We are invited to cast off the rosy goggles of techno-libertarian euphoria of such future visions for a moment by James Grimmelmann in a recent Lawmeme article entitled Accidental Privacy Spills: Musings on Privacy, Democracy, and the Internet: "Theorists of democracy are all over the map on the nature of interest groups and whether intra-group conversations are good or bad...the Internet encourages the formation of virtual communities with divergent norms and interests and that it brings these groups into contact -- and conflict." Breaking down barriers of physical space isn't all about rejoicing in an information commons. "The problem isn't that you can hear your loud neighbors; the problem is that they can hear you." Grimmelmann discusses the recent case of a dumb-ass journalist whose "personal" notes ended up as fodder on MetaFilter. "She can write for the world, or not at all. There is no middle ground...the problem isn't just that the Internet is leaky; the Internet makes everything leaky."