Yahoo Gets Into Semantics And Likes it

Yahoo announced plans to support various Semantic Web standards in a bid to complement its open search platform. It’s designed to help make search more contextual and present results relevant to the user.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) also disclosed more details on its plans to open its search engine to third-party developers. A part of this strategy involves Yahoo Buzz, which lets users rank links and news articles in a similar fashion to news aggregator Digg.

Amit Kumar, director of product management for Yahoo Search, announced the Semantic Web support in a blog post. He said Yahoo felt that by supporting Semantic Web standards such as microformats and the Resource Description Framework (RDF), it could offer a better, more complete search for consumers.

Citing LinkedIn as an example, Kumar said a semantic search done on LinkedIn would also find data relevant to a person, like contact information or their current job. “With a richer understanding of LinkedIn’s structured data included in our index, we will be able to present users with more compelling and useful search results for their sites,” he wrote.

Initially, Yahoo will release a small number of microformats, including hCard, hCalendar, hReview, hAtom, and XFN. Among the first RDFs Yahoo plans to support are Dublin Core, Creative Commons, FOAF, GeoRSS, MediaRSS, and others.

Kumar also announced that Yahoo will launch a beta tool in the coming weeks that will let third parties add data to Yahoo Search results. For instance, companies could point to, the user review site for everything from a doctor’s office to a local Subway sandwich shop, so the company’s Yelp reviews appear along with their home page in a Web search.

Yahoo plans to host a developer event at its Sunnyvale, Calif. headquarters in the coming weeks to coincide with the launch of the third party tools.

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