- Image via CrunchBase
After years of quiet indifference to Sir Tim Bern Lee’s initiative to restructure the data published on the web into a more useful and accessible architecture, Google has taken the extraordinary turn of becoming the industry’s premier evangelist for Semantic mark up. For those who need a brief refresher course, theSemantic Webis an evolving structure of knowledge, built to allow anyone on the Internet to add what they know and find, as answers to their questions; and cross reference and verify those answers. Information on the Semantic web, as well as being in natural language, is maintained in a structured meta format form which is fairly easy for both computers and people to read and work with.
This is accomplished in various ways: by adding an enhanced mark up based onRDF (Resource Description Formats), by writing micro formats which are designed to be read by humans first and machines second (micro formats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards), or as in the case of Yahoo’s Search Monkeyand Google’s new updatecalled “Rich Snippets,” sensitize their spiders to scan the Semantic layer of meta data. Google’s Marissa Mayer and Kavi Goel recently demonstrated how Google is working with tech publishers, including CNET, to display new types of cross referenced information in search results. These larger Search players, are attempting to create an illusion of proprietary search structures when in fact, the brilliance of Semantic web architecture is that it is fundamentally an open architecture whose distinct benefit is that it surpasses proprietary and format barriers. Googlesaid it would not penalise web publishers who did not participate in the Rich Snippets program by making their Web pages less relevant, but Google’s Goel acknowledged that Web pages enhanced with Rich Snippets could see higher click-through rates, which would improve their relevance in Google’s algorithm.