Google’s support for RDFa and Microformats19/10/2009
Google has announced that their search engine is going to support enhanced searching in web pages, by using RDFa and Microformats embedded in XHTML. Google states that the extra (structured) data will be used in order to get results for Product Reviews (e.g. CNET Reviews), Products (e.g. Amazon product pages), People (e.g. LinkedIn profiles) and any other types of resources will be made public through the data-vocabulary.org. W3C is pretty happy about that.
The news are good for three reasons:
- Google supports an Open Standard (RDFa by W3C) and also an Open RDF Vocabulary
- Structured Data embedded in human readable web pages are going to start showing up. Content providers will start using RDFa or Microformats to get Google’s Rich Snippets in search results. Of course other Search Engines will follow :) Yahoo! already supports RDFa in SearchMonkey.
- One more big step towards the Semantic Web.
I suspect that data from RDFa or Microformats will be also used in some way by Google for Ranking search results and that a new SEO era is going to start. However it is too early to make predictions.
From my personal point of view, if RDFa is finally going to be widely adopted, it will be the first time that scientists will have a Web-scale distributed, structured data “playground” to do research on. Although I am not an expert in the field, I remember that Semantic Web and Large Graph processing had scalability problems (correct me if I’m wrong!). The Web Graph (that is as simple as “one page links another”) is going to be much more complex and semantically “meaningful”. I am very curious to see what comes next in this direction!