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Yahoo! supports Semantic Web to better search experience.

Alex Christie

14 March 2008

Yahoo has announced that soon it provide API’s to it’s Search platform to allow third party developers tweak search results with structured data and make them more useful for users. Programmers will be able to overlay their own algorithms to determine how Yahoo Search index is used.To enable better programming and usability on Yahoo’s platform, Yahoo is supporting several semantic web standards RDF (Resource Description Framework) and microformats.

Semantic Web, popularized by World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, is a programming practice that makes it possible for the web to understand and meet the requests of people and machines to use the web content.By opening Yahoo Search with support for the Semantic Web, Yahoo hopes to lure developers to write functionality based on the semantic Web to provide a better search experience for users.

For example, Kumar said that by marking up its profile pages with microformats, LinkedIn can allow Yahoo Search to better understand the semantic content and the relationships of its site’s components.
"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 site," Kamur wrote, adding that LinkedIn will benefit from increased traffic quality and quantity from sites that leverage its structured data.

Rachel Happe, an IDC analyst, told eWEEK such efforts underscore why Yahoo believes it’s more valuable than the $31 per share offer Microsoft offered for the company."If I can put an algorithm on top of search that says here are all of the things I want the algorithm to prioritize and here’s all of the things I want it to exclude that’s really powerful," Happe said, noting that this a departure from the "Google knows best" indexing approach.

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