Smart search & data visualization: Silk launched in open beta

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Silk, a web application that lets users create information in a structured way, launched in open beta today. The first time we introduced you to this promising Dutch startup was when Silk got elected as the winner of TheNextWeb Startup Rally in April 2011. About a month later, the young company completed a €320,000 funding round led by Atomico. Silk’s team, which is based in Amsterdam, grew from 4 to 11 people between May 2011 and 2012.

The just released open beta version enables everyone to create their own Silk site. A Silk site is a website that can be understood by both humans and computers. This enables an entirely new kind of web search and new powerful ways to visualize information.

The Silk sites that have been created so far demonstrate how Silk impacts the way information is consumed. One of these Silk sites contains information about the various countries in the world, just like Wikipedia does. The site contains text like any other website, but users can interact with the content more deeply. It is like a database that anyone can use. Want to know which countries have a life expectancy below 60, for example? Silk instantly shows you the answer in a table, chart or map. Check out the video below this article to find out more about how this works.

Over the past few months Silk has been in private beta, allowing the first 10,000 enthusiasts to sign up and create their own Silk site. The Silk web editor enables users to structure existing content or build entirely new websites. Importer tools effortlessly turn existing datasets into structured Silk sites.

Sander Koppelaar (Silk, head of operations) stated: “Seeing the first groups of users creating Silk sites has been very exciting. We have seen interest from professional publishers and data journalists, but also from businesses and personal users. We are very thrilled to open up our product to the world today.”

Salar al Khafaji (Silk, CEO) added: “Silk operates at the forefront of the Web 3.0 trend that helps users interact with the huge and growing volume of information online. Search engines such as Google are great at finding web pages, but cannot combine information to form meaningful answers. We believe that the web will become a better place as more information becomes available on Silk. We are excited to see this happen, one Silk site at a time.”

Signing up for Silk is now possible on www.silkapp.com. To check out an existing Silk site, visit the Countries of the world site.

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