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A Step toward Semantic: Google Gets RDFa, Facebook Capabilities




google angel haloLest we forget, social networks aren’t the only copycats. Search engines certainly do their fair share of feature and markup poaching, as evidenced this week by Google’s latest video search additions: understanding the microformat data from Facebook Share and Yahoo SearchMonkey RDFa.

Oh, sure, Google says they’re in it to help us find more (and more relevant) videos. As if their mission were cataloguing the world’s information and, like, making it accessible.

Oh wait.

Google’s Webmaster Central blog announces the new capabilities to provide more contextual data about a video as a way for webmasters to get their videos seen in search results. (Previous help in this area came from video sitemaps and mRSS.) The post notes:

Both of these markup formats allow you to specify information essential to video indexing, such as a video’s title and description, within the HTML of a video page. While we’ve become smarter at discovering this information on our own, we’d certainly appreciate some hints directly from webmasters. Also, to maximize the chances that we find the markup on your video pages, you should make sure it appears in the HTML without the execution of JavaScript or Flash.

The full recommended code, including the embedded video (with a generic video ID), is available in the post and adds a meta (Facebook) or span (RDFa) elements to provide a title and description of the video.

The use of microformats like RDFa is hailed as a step toward the semantic web, since microformats are used to help convey meaning along with information—to help users and especially compatible software to better understand the data provided. They’re one of the more straightforward methods of adding meaning and delineating relationships in code.

But, of course, there’s no word on how this will integrate with YouTube, or whether adding microformat data to the embed code of a video hoested on another site will help it compete with relevant YouTube videos.

What do you think? Will you be using microformats to add more info to your videos for search engines? Do you host your videos on YouTube or somewhere else, and what kind of competition do you face?

  • http://www.bigpictureweb.com Josh Braaten

    Wow, video search AND semantic? Talk about killing two bird with one stone. That’s the nice thing about a solid company like Google. They have a million paths they could take and focus on the ones with the most promise and potential ROI.
    .-= Josh Braaten´s last blog ..A Website Planning Worksheet – Measuring Performance Improvements =-.

  • http://www.marketingprofessor.com Travis Campbell

    Jordan-

    Interesting. What do I think? I understand YouTube is not a profitable venture (yet) for Google. It seems they are doing whatever they can to make it profitable including implementing social features that rewards videos with higher social interactions with higher results on searches, ad network ties, forthcoming Google Wave integration, and as you have well stated, enhanced search capabilities for video.

    Am I close? :-)
    .-= Travis Campbell´s last blog ..Getting the Gist of Your Social Connections with Gist =-.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Jordan McCollum

    @Travis—I wish I knew! Sounds like a solid theory to me :D . And getting us to turn to Google for video search as well as videos isn’t a bad plan, either.