Yahoo! Backing! Microformats!

The details are a bit sketchy, but in a piece on TechCrunch, Michael Arrington reveals that Yahoo! is embracing “the Semantic Web” (with a broad embrace of microformats ):

“A few details are being disclosed now, and Yahoo promises more in a few weeks. They are saying that they will support a number of microformats at the start: hCard, hCalendar, hReview, hAtom and XFN. They will support vocabulary components from Dublin Core, Creative Commons, FOAF, GeoRSS, MediaRSS, and others. They will support RDFa and eRDF markup to embed these into existing HTML pages.”

This follows in the wake of Google’s SocialGraph API. Together, this should push microformats over the top. Already, sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo mark up their public profiles with microformats. Expect many more to follow suit.

Why does all this matter? It addresses a pain point that is becoming more common. As more and more socially-enabled websites emerge, users must build their profiles from scratch at each new place. What microformats makes possible is for you to have one or more public profiles that are machine-readable. So sites should allow you to import from your existing profiles with a click or two, rather than have to manually input your info. In addition, many new sorts of mashups become possible.

Somewhat skeptical coverage by Stowe Boyd here and also over at ZD Net.

A nice piece over at ReadWriteWeb. Makes an interesting aside that Facebook at present not very interested in Semantic Web stuff.

For more perspective on how this fits in with the Semantic Web, see Twine’s blog or TrendSpotting.

How soon will we see this stuff in action, I wonder? 

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