Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Back Search Metadata Project - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Applications
06:29 PM
Connect Directly
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Back Search Metadata Project aims to provide a common vocabulary for structuring web page data.

While Google competes with Microsoft and Yahoo in the search market, the three companies are cooperating to help web publishers make their content more comprehensible to search engines.

Google on Thursday said that the three companies had launched an initiative called, to create and support common ways to represent web page metadata. The project will offer web publishers the tools to make their web content more easily understood by search engines and more effectively represented on search results pages.

"With, site owners can improve how their sites appear in search results not only on Google, but on Bing, Yahoo, and potentially other search engines as well in the future," said Google Fellow Ramanathan Guha in a blog post. hosts definitions for HTML tags that webmasters can use for data markup. For example, the Person schema provides a way to associate a person's name with data that relates to that person, like his or her street address and email address. Without the structure provided by metadata markup, it can be difficult for search engines to be certain that a name on a web page is associated with some other data attribute.

There are other ways of marking up web pages, such as RDAa and microformats. But Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo argue that other formats have disadvantages and that webmasters will benefit from having a single markup resource focused on search engines, which in turn will lead to more markup and a better search experience.

Google has been pursuing its own structured markup for several years. In 2009, the company enhanced its search results with rich snippets, which made additional data like online reviews visible in search listings. The company has expanded its snippets to include events and recipes. As a result, companies like and have chosen to structure their data to take advantage of the more effective presentation afforded well-described data.

The initiative is similar in some respects to, an XML schema that helps search engine crawlers navigate websites. The protocol was created by Google in 2005 and supported by Microsoft and Yahoo in 2006, with other companies announcing support later.

The existence of can be seen as an acknowledgement of the limits of automated data analysis. One of the Frequently Asked Questions posted on the site attempts to deal with a possible objection to web page markup, specifically that it requires work from webmasters. "Automated data extraction is great when it works, but it can be error prone because different sites can represent the same information in so many different ways," the website says.

Understanding, in other words, is a harder problem than indexing. Humans may not be obsolete after all.

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Boston to see the latest social business tools and technologies. Register with code CPBJEB03 and save $100 off conference passes or for a free expo pass. It happens June 20-23. Find out more.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll