[uf-discuss] FYI: Jeff Jarvis on microformats and Google Base
microformats at gr0w.com
Mon Nov 21 17:20:35 PST 2005
> <tantek at cs.stanford.edu>> wrote:
> Wow that's an amazing article. Thanks for passing it along David.
> I think Jeff makes a lot of good points.
> Before stating my own opinion, I would like to first ask the community:
> How do you think the microformats community should respond to (or
> engage) Google Base?
Hello to all.
This is the first time I've felt able to offer a contribution to the list
outside the arguments I have about MF in my head. I feel that the MFs
community response could contain the following:
1. Invite Google to  Participate in the development of MF specifications,
possibly in line with some of their existing categories (many have been
discussed here, e.g. Jobs, reviews, events etc. I would add some others too:
Property, products, services... the list is endless.),  Consider
integrating MFs within GBase as they become specified to allow submission of
MFs described data (possibly by something as simple as by URI) and
extraction of it.
The issue of an API and whether it is closed or open may be depreciated if
the data that Google Base will hold is in Microformats and could possibly be
aggregated in other ways anyway? Supporting MFs input and output may also,
in the long run, be a way for GBase to be more comprehensive and useful.
2. Engagement by example around, 'humans first, machines second': The work
currently being done, regardless of Google Base, is probably the most
important work I've ever witnessed. Either on a networking level within our
respective industries or a development level. One day I hope that MFs will
be a core component of every file delivered via http, and as such, every
piece of data will have relative value as an aggregated and meaningful part
of the human information matrix, not just intrinsic value in the file or
domain that holds it. I imagine something as simple as my Mum posting her
recipes to her own web site (or even something like GBase) and having them
included in a MF aggregation matrix of all human food recipes ad infinitum.
I imagine her accessing a MF aggregation tool to find others recipes or even
adding others' recipes in MFs from web pages to a, 'book' of her MF recipe
bookmarks. 'Microformarks' anyone? Or even Microfootmarks! It's a glorious
thought and makes me smile.
Therefore, to achieve that we need 2 things,  More MF Specifications to
implement, and  Software to show real use benefits for the human beings
who not only want visible information on the page, but a way of posting that
information for themselves and aggregated information from infinite numbers
of pages too (without SEO Spam getting in the way of the results).
The latter is becoming more important IMO; Technorati etc. have demonstrated
the power of real world aggregators in evangelising a single MF or MF type
idea. The possibilities are endless but perhaps we need a few simple online
tools developed in tandem with a given specification (e.g. around hReview)
that can demonstrate the practical implications how powerful MFs can be for
everyone. A day in the online life for all would change beyond recognition
if data was described by Microformats, and then aggregated for distribution
and use. Then the case for MFs will be made stronger by having more
*useful* results of aggregated MF data for non-technical users.
3. Lastly a question: I believe that MFs may well become the most
significant factor in the development of the Internet since Google itself.
Maybe even since search engines themselves (which I believe MFs may come to
threaten in certain instances). Is it time to consider engagement with the
mainstream press on a more active level? I have in mind that whenever there
is a mainstream press article being written about the Internet, MFs should
be on the list of subjects to mention. A BBC commentator said the other day,
'the Internet is mostly full of rubbish'. A sweeping perception but
nevertheless a lay person's view; Valuable, meaningful data from MFs could
negate that view. I believe that when anyone who uses the Web (not just
industry journalists) can realise the potential significance of MFs by
examples and then conversion to the cause is automatic. It just needs
evangelising. Anything I can do to help I will.
Apologies if I've been unintentionally verbose.
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