Friday, February 26, 2010

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Philanthropy goes Semantic

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is undoubtedly one of the most transparent and largest privately owned philanthropic organization in the world. The foundation's work ranges from providing vaccines to prevent childhood diseases to cutting edge research to improve agricultural yields and prevent malaria, among other things. Though, philanthropy is philanthropy and there is no big and small in that world as anybody who is doing it genuinely is a unique entity - you only need to travel outside US, Western Europe and few other developed nations to understand how desperately it is needed in rest of the world. Still, I believe that this particular foundation is very visionary in all its pursuits and focus areas if you follow them closely. Today, I was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted by Fenton communications who handles communications for them to write about this interesting press release on my blog. This is the bare minimum I can do as I understand the importance of what they are trying to accomplish - I have also been fortunate to work with few philanthropic organizations and I understand how valuable this concept can be for them.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding a new digital-media hub call The hub will use semantic technology to create a platform that combines the video sharing power of YouTube with the open information of Wikipedia and the mission of your favorite advocacy organization. is being created by a social change organization, making it one of the first time a non-profit is on the leading edge when it comes to technological innovation. They’re partnering with Zemanta, FreeBase and OpenCalais - the three well known companies in the semantics world.

Actor Danny Glover announced the launch of the project today via email and in a video. is using the power of semantic technology to make videos, articles, blogs, and actions readily available to people working in global development. While watching high-impact video stories on the site, viewers can choose to dig deeper by exploring up-to-date details on which organizations are involved, links to related content, and lists of relevant actions they can take.

For example, imagine you are watching a short documentary about clean water issues in India. As the video plays, adjacent windows will dynamically generate links to actions and media directly related to each scene. These could include organizations involved in clean water and sanitation, action campaigns related to water issues, relevant videos from YouTube, articles from research organizations, and the latest updates from news services and blogs.

This is a great cause and it will be immense help to anybody who is doing anything noble for any society. Please spread the word in any way you can.

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