Next phase for semweb take up

The recent announcement from Google that they will start indexing RDFa and Microformats flew mostly under the radar, but is doesn’t go completely unnoticed (see Zemanta links below).

I personally think that this marks the start of “real world” adoption of semweb, be it through a surrogate approach via microformats.
Why now? Because improved representation of your content in Google is simply too big to ignore. If embedding microformatted content (or, hopefully, RDFa) brings you an advantage in Google Page Rank, web site owners and SEO specialists will rapidly adopt the technology. Without the google index incentive this never would happen.

The other side may be that data quality gets diluted in a way. Up till now we are used to working with reasonably clean and consistent collections (like DBpedia, MusicBrainz to name a few), where the data quality matters all by itself. That is radically different from entering some code for the purpose of cranking up your rank on the search engines.

Maybe in a year from now we are all busy with implementing trust- and reputation systems for linked data instead of spreading the word. I’m curious if the nature of linked data makes this job any easier than with the unstructured web of documents.

Update: Ivan Hermann tells it all in a nutshell: RDFa, Google.

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