Posted December 13, 2012 12:16 am by with 2 comments

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Google is trying to make structured data something even a non-tech type can create. A new product called Data Highlighter allows the creation of structured data for events only (currently). Here is a quick video describing the service.

The Google Webmaster Central blog post about the service tells us

Until now, marking up your site’s HTML code has been the only way to indicate structured data to Google. However, we recognize that markup may be hard for some websites to deploy.

Today, we’re offering webmasters a simpler alternative: Data Highlighter. At initial launch, it’s available in English only and for structured data about events, such as concerts, sporting events, exhibitions, shows, and festivals. We’ll make Data Highlighter available for more languages and data types in the months ahead.

Data Highlighter is a point-and-click tool that can be used by anyone authorized for your site in Google Webmaster Tools. No changes to HTML code are required.

Can you hear many less than technical types saying “Thanks, Google!”?

  • Seems like more of a pain in the ass to do this manually than with markup, but good solution for non-developer types.

    • Agreed. Google is using that clunky highlight and popup-ish interface for everything now, it seems. They’ve had it in place for Google Groups and Google+ and Google Drive/ Docs and more probably for awhile. I use Chrome browser, yet it still doesn’t work all that smoothly, nor reliably for me. I would think that it would be so much more reliable to do with markup that it would be worth the trouble. If you care enough to want to denote structured data to Google on your website, especially for something as important as an event (that people rely on, takes place in the physical world), I would rather use markup than take a chance with the data highlighter.

      That motivates my second observation, which is this: I wonder why Google chose to introduce highlighter for events as a data type? Seems like it would be better to try it on something less important, or lower profile, in case of problems. I’m feeling cynical today, I guess. In the video, I liked the narrator’s voice a lot, but his hoodie looked stupid, and he didn’t look like he’d combed his hair. That makes me feel like Google doesn’t think we’re important enough to warrant two seconds of time to comb down a cow lick and remove the hoodie, no?