[uf-discuss] Search on CSS element (was: Making Microformats Searchable)

David Janes davidjanes at blogmatrix.com
Mon Jan 22 10:01:29 PST 2007

On 1/22/07, Nir Yariv <niryariv at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Last week in Boston we were discussing Pingerati and "how do you find
> > microformats" (in general). One passing idea I had was that search
> > engines should supply a CSS element selector. So for example, to find
> > Tantek's hCard we could search "tantek css:vcard". Neatly, this shows
> > one of the great benefits of microformats -- by working in HTML data
> > world, we gain the benefits of existing tools but still work with
> > data.
> Opting for a solution that requires changes on the search engine side
> (eg, crawling CSS files) might not be the best path, IMHO. It means
> relying on search engines on several points:
> 1. Motivation - while by definition everyone reading this is
> interested in Microformats, I don't know how many people working on
> search engines are even aware of MFs.
> 2. Implementation - once the motivation is there, you're relying on
> different search engines to implement the standard correctly and
> completely. (Admittedly, it won't be hard to implement. But big
> companies occasionally like to put their own spin on standards...)
> 3. Sharing -  above reasons by nature will limit the number of engines
> which will support the MF search. This increases the vulnerability of
> MF-search based apps to moves like Google's recent SOAP API
> deprecation.
> In any case, if we're already asking publishers to modify their
> output, I think it would be more likely to catch on if it provides
> instant results, by working with existing search engines.

Again, we're not asking anyone to read CSS file; we're asking them to
index the "class" attributes of HTML they're already crawling. We
already know that Google does look at this information (they did a
report on it last year) and I'm fairly sure that there are a number of
search companies aware of microformats. There are very few
implementation issues: most programmers, including those at many
search companies, are aware how to break up a space separated list of

David Janes
Founder, BlogMatrix

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