Posts Tagged ‘Microformats’

Yandex’ New Interactive Snippets: Now Users Can Book, Buy And Pay Bills Right From Its Search Page

Rich snippets – yep, they were a nice start, but Russian search engine Yandex thinks it’s time for something more powerful. Something it’s calling interactive snippets and a feature it’s branding as Islands for its search results pages.

Yandex says the new feature evolves from rich snippets, which CTO Ilya Segalovich refers to in the press release as “mere decoration.” Interactive snippets, in contrast, are actionable, letting users do things like book movie tickets, make reservations or pay bills right from the search page. Webmasters can choose to add this functionality to their web sites if they want to, and while it may get their business customers – especially those using smartphones and tablets – who want to make their transactions as seamless as possible, it does mean those users won’t be making the journey to the business’ own web site.

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Search Engine Yandex Gets More Personal, And More Semantic, Too

Image courtesy of Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Search engine Yandex this week added personalization capabilities for Eastern European users’ search results. It analyses their online behavior including their search history, clicks on search results, and language preferences for its suggestions.

Kaliningrad is the name of the latest edition of Yandex’ personalized search engine. It uses that information to make suggestions and rank search results individually tailored for each user, showing book lovers that do a search on Harry Potter links related to the books, while those who prefer movies get film-oriented link fare.

Semantic markup didn’t play a role in the development of the technology, Yandex technical product manager and developer advocate Alexander Shubin says. But it can be applied for future enhancements, he notes. The new personalization reportedly leverages Yandex’ machine-learning-based query and search results algorithms “Spectrum” and “MatrixNet” to train the results to users’ requirements.

That said, Yandex has been diving deeper into semantic web waters. Beyond taking advantage of sites using schema.org markup to improve the display of search results, Shubin provides this update: “We enhanced our markup validator to understand all the markup (Open Graph, schema.org, RDFa, microformats). It is universal now (as Google’s or Bing’s instruments).”

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Google Debuts Data Highlighter: An Easy Way Into Structured Data

Structured data makes the Web go around. Search engines love it when webmasters mark up page content. Google’s rich snippets, for instance, leverages sites’ use of microdata (preferred format), or RDFa or microformats: It makes it possible to highlight in a few lines specific types of content in search results, to give users some insight about what’s on the page and its relationship to their queries – prep time for a recipe, for instance.

Plenty of web sites generated from structured data haven’t added HTML markup to their pages, though, so they aren’t getting the benefits that come with search engines understanding the information on those web pages.

Maybe that will change, now that Google has introduced Data Highlighter, an easy way to tell its search engine about the structured data behind their web pages. A video posted by Google product management director Jack Menzel gives the snapshot: “Data Highlighter is a point- and-click tool that allows any webmaster to show Google the patterns of structured data on their pages without modifying the pages themselves,” he says.

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SindiceTech Releases SparQLed As Open Source Project To Simplify Writing SPARQL Queries

(Editor’s Note, June 29: The SparQLed project URL now is available here.)

SindiceTech today released SparQLed, the SindiceTech Assisted SPARQL Editor, as an open source project. SindiceTech, a spinoff company from the DERI Institute, commercializes large-scale, Big Data infrastructures for enterprises dealing with semantic data. It has roots in the semantic web index Sindice, which lets users collect, search, and query semantically marked-up web data (see our story here).

SparQLed also is one of the components of the commercial Sindice Suite for helping large enterprises build private linked data clouds. It is designed to give users all the help they need to write SPARQL queries to extract information from interconnected datasets.

“SPARQL is exciting but it’s difficult to develop and work with,” says Giovanni Tummarello, who led the efforts around the Sindice search and analysis engine and is founder and CEO of SindiceTech.

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Semantic Commerce: Structuring Your Retail Website for the Next Generation Web

Are you wondering why your product pages don’t stand out in search results like those from Amazon (shown below) or other competing e-commerce websites? These expanded results are commonly known as Rich Snippets (as named by Google) and are the result of having your HTML structured correctly with semantic markup. Whether you’re savvy to HTML5 and the latest design trends, or you haven’t updated your website code in years, this is article will explain why it’s important you structure your data properly utilizing semantic standards.

Sample of Rich Snippet result

There are a number of ways to structure your data to make it more relevant to search engines, as well as social media sites. As an e-commerce retailer it is important to understand which of these standards you should consider including in your website. You should take some time to ensure you are implementing semantic markup, and doing it correctly. It has the power to better inform potential customers with upfront knowledge prior to landing on your site. Customers can see product reviews, pricing and stock information, and even images before clicking through to your website. This can lead to increased click-through rates, improve conversions, and generally enhance your SEO objectives.

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Catching Up With Yandex: What Russia’s Leading Search Engine Has To Say About Schema.org

Update: Yandex today (April 26th) reported that net income in the first three months of 2012 rose 53 percent from the same period last year to 1.26 billion rubles ($43 million) as text-based advertising revenue rose, according to Bloomberg. Sales gained 51 percent to 5.9 billion rubles.

In November Russian search engine Yandex joined Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! to collaborate on schema.org. The Semantic Web Blog recently caught up by email with Alexander Shubin, Yandex product manager and head of strategic direction, to discuss this and other developments.

The Semantic Web Blog: Can you update us about how Yandex is doing? We know it’s still leading search traffic in Russia, but do you see more competition there, and how have international expansion plans been proceeding?

Shubin: Yandex is the leader in Russia with 59 to 60 percent market share. Russia is one of the few countries where a local search engine keeps a leading position, in spite of international players’ expansion.

Last year Yandex was launched in Turkey, where we suggest 12 services (including web search) so far. According to our statistics, yandex.com.tr processes more than 1 million queries daily. Turkey is the first non-Russian speaking market for us and we have done a lot of work to deliver services that would be interesting for the local community.  The main target for Yandex in Turkey, where one search engine still keeps 90 percent of search market, is to become the Number 2 player and to deliver more local search results and services than our competitor does.

Turkey is more or less an experiment for us: If we meet our target there, we can potentially do the same on any other non-Russian speaking market. But it is too early to make any conclusions or announcements so far as we have worked in Turkey only half of year. Stay tuned!

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Growing Resource: WebDataCommons.org

Following this teaser last week, Dr. Christian Bizer has reported, “We are happy to announce WebDataCommons.org, a joint project of Freie Universität Berlin and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to extract all Microformat, Microdata and RDFa data from the Common Crawl web corpus, the largest and most up-to-data web corpus that is currently available to the public. WebDataCommons.org provides the extracted data for download in the form of RDF-quads. In addition, we produce basic statistics about the extracted data.” Read more

More Semantic Tech Set To Influence Mobile Ad Space

The mobile ad space gets more and more interesting. Reports indicate that LinkedIn will be launching mobile advertisements as early as March, based on a statement by CEO Jeff Weiner during its quarterly earnings call that there are plans to monetize page views in “the mobile environment.” How much, if any, of that will be semantic-influenced is unknown, though it’s worth noting that LinkedIn has discussed its use of microformats in the past, such as hCard and hResume, and offered that it would be experimenting with RDF and FoaF.

And Facebook is hip to being in the mobile ad mix, too, acknowledging amid the IPO flurry that a weakness it had was monetizing its mobile user base. The Financial Times reported that it’s been in discussion with ad agencies about displaying sponsored “featured stories” in mobile users’ news feeds as well as to desktop users (see more about that and its intersection with the Open Graph protocol here).

Clearly, mobility matters to online advertising, and to semantically-minded players in the market. NetSeer has been on that bandwagon, for example, mobilizing its concept-based advertising through its relationship with Mobile Theory. Our friends in the Nordic region also have the semantic targeting capabilities that come along with ad serving technology from Emediate, an independent company that’s owned by ad pepper media International and provides web publishers with a system for managing, targeting and forecasting digital ads, including in the mobile space.

Now there’s news today from Twelvefold Media (formerly BuzzLogic) about the launch of Spectrum for Mobile, which takes its online targeting capabilities to the iOS and Android platforms. Spectrum is the company’s system for providing in real-time emotive-based ads by analyzing and understanding the content on individual pages (for further insight into how it works, see this story).

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Introduction to: RDFa

Name Badge - Hello, My Name is RDFaSimply put, RDFa is another syntax for RDF. The interesting aspect of RDFa is that it is embedded in HTML. This means that you can state what things on your HTML page actually mean. For example, you can specify that a certain text is the title of a blog post or it’s the name of a product or it’s the price for a certain product. This is starting to be commonly known as “adding semantic markup”.

Historically, RDFa was specified only for XHTML. Currently, RDFa 1.1 is specified for XHTML and HTML5. Additionally, RDFa 1.1 works for any XML-based language such as SVG. Recently, RDFa Lite was introduced as “a small subset of RDFa consisting of a few attributes that may be applied to most simple to moderate structured data markup tasks.” It is important to note that RDFa is not the only way to add semantics to your webpages. Microdata and Microformats are other options, and I will discuss this later on. As a reminder, you can publish your data as Linked Data through RDFa. Inside your markup, you can link to other URIs or others can link to your HTML+RDFa webpages.

Why publish RDFa? Read more

BREAKING: Schema.org announces intent to support RDFa Lite!

Last month, we reported on the new RDFa 1.1 Lite proposal by Ben Adida. In our recent podcast on Schema.org with guest Ramanathan V. Guha, we touched on the topic of RDFa Lite as well.

Today, schema.org spokesperson Dan Brickley posted that “we’re pleased to give advance notice of a new way of adopting schema.org’s structured data vocabulary. W3C’s RDF Web Applications group are right now putting the finishing touches to the latest version of the RDFa standard. This work opens up new possibilities also for developers who intend to work with schema.org data using RDF-based tools and Linked Data, and defines a simplified publisher-friendly ‘Lite’ view of RDFa.”

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