Schema.org and GoodRelations logosSchema.org has announced that GoodRelations is now fully integrated into the markup vocabulary backed by Google, Yahoo!, Bing/Microsoft, and Yandex (read our past schema.org coverage). GoodRelations is the e-commerce vocabulary that has been developed and maintained by Martin Hepp since 2002 (previous coverage).

In the official announcement, R.V. Guha (Google) says, “Effective immediately, the GoodRelations vocabulary (http://purl.org/goodrelations/) is directly available from within the schema.org site for use with both HTML5 Microdata and RDFa. Webmasters of e-commerce sites can use all GoodRelations types and properties directly from the schema.org namespace to expose more granular information for search engines and other clients, including delivery charges, quantity discounts, and product features.”

Kingsley Idehen (OpenLink Software) quickly responded to the news on Google+ with his concise take of what this means:

“1. structured data driven eCommerce at Web-scale is now a reality — think Amazon.com on steroids as a natural feature of the Web.

2. serendipitous discovery of offers, wish-lists, products etc…

3. the above without compromising privacy.”

Guha (Google) says, “The addition of these widely adopted schemas into schema.org will make it more easy for Web publishers to express structured data about products, offers, companies, stores and related facts.”

Guha continues, “Our collaboration with GoodRelations exemplifies this: GoodRelations provides a rich, well known and widely used terminology for e-commerce data sharing. By integrating GoodRelations into schema.org, we make it easier for publishers to adopt, and also combine such vocabulary… our approach has been to bring together existing work in a way that hides multi-schema complexity behind a common data model.”

When asked to comment, Martin Hepp provided the following response to our readers in the form of an open letter:

 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dear readers of semanticweb.com:

Martin Hepp, Hepp Research, GmbHToday is a great day, both for the Semantic Web vision in general, and for the GoodRelations E-Commerce Vocabulary (http://purl.org/goodrelations/) in particular. Why is that? Because after a very intensive, productive, and enjoyable collaboration with the sponsors of schema.org, a new version of schema.org has just been released that adds the full power of GoodRelations to the schema.org specification.

There is a lot to say about this, both from a technical and a strategic perspective, and I will need a series of blogposts to address these in more detail. In a nutshell, however, a valid OWL DL ontology rooted in ten years of Semantic Web work has just become the core conceptual structure for exposing e-commerce data in RDFa and microdata syntax on the Web, with the full weight of Google, Bing/Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex as data consumers. RDF-related technology, namely triplestores and SPARQL processors, will become a prime environment to consume such data for novel usages in business, education, and research.

I expect the rate of adoption of rich, structured e-commerce data in RDFa or microdata syntax to increase by orders of magnitude in the next 3 – 9 months, as more companies soon realize that Semantic SEO is about far more than just getting Rich Snippets in the search engine results. This is already sketched out on the page http://wiki.goodrelations-vocabulary.org/GoodRelations_for_Semantic_SEO.

There is definitely more to say about this, but while I am writing this, it is already midnight in Europe, so I put the details off for later.

I will be happy to learn of your comments and suggestions!

Best wishes from Germany,

Martin Hepp

One of the challenges in integrating such a large, comprehensive vocabulary such as GoodRelations is simply one of size — it’s big. After all, Hepp has been working on the vocabulary for over  a decade. For more history on GoodRelations, see this timeline.

Dan Brickley (Schema.org at Google) described how working with GoodRelations required something different from what the team has taken with other vocabulary integrations:

“This latest build of schema.org uses a different approach to previous updates. Earlier versions (apart from health/medicine) were relatively small, and could be hand coded. With Good Relations, the approach we took was to use an import system that reads schema definitions expressed in HTML+RDFa/RDFS and generates the site as an aggregation of these ‘layers’. In other words, schema.org is built by a system that reads a collection of schema definitions expressed using W3C standards.”

Another approach to this challenge of size was one that schema.org has employed before — the use of “enumerated lists.” Guha says, “Enumerated lists of values remain managed at GoodRelations URLs, following our general approach for referencing ‘external enumerations’.”

This integration represents over a year of work within both the schema.org and GoodRelations teams.

One More Thing…

According to Brickley, this latest roll-out of schema.org contains goodies in addition to the GoodRelations integration: “The public site is also now more standards-friendly, aiming for ‘Polyglot’ HTML that works as HTML5 and XHTML, and you can find an RDFa view of the overall schema at http://schema.org/docs/schema_org_rdfa.html.”