Schema.org: The first step to Semantic Web going mainstream
This post follows the developments around the Semantic Web space which i have been blogging about over the past few months.
In a significant development, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have teamed up to index and define an interconnected vocabulary of terms that can be added to the HTML mark-up of a Web page to communicate the meaning of concepts on the page. The initiative is called schema.org. The move represents a major advance in a campaign initiated in 2001 by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, to enable software to access the meaning of online content—a vision known as the “semantic Web.” By tagging information, Web page owners could improve the position of their site in search results—an important source of traffic. The Schema.org approach is modelled on one of the more straightforward methods of describing the meaning of a Web page’s contents. Being backed up by the biggest search engines, Schema has a very powerful Launchpad and provided that it can index right and more importantly learn from crowd intelligence and add to its vocabulary, this could be the birth of Semantic Web.
This data can be used by any software to cross-correlate things that are related, or to understand the relationship between information from different sources. Semantic information might improve artificially intelligent assistants or tools able to make good recommendations.
Independently Google is working on a Authorship mark-up options which indexes information on the web in terms of its creator. Google supports this by it +1 feature, a revised Panda search algorithm and a news algorithm.
While Schema.org still waits to have a affiliation from W3C, which the big 3 search engines have by-passed currently to unveil this semantics project and there are some code and mark-up led incompatibilities, Scheme.org definitely is a move towards integrating intelligent web services to further the consumer experience.