Two threads this week: the first is an announcement from the major search engine on a way they agree to discover machine-processable information in web pages. The search engines want this so they can do a better job understanding the information web pages, but it stomps on the linked data work that has been a hot topic in libraries recently. The second is a red-letter day in the history of the internet as major services tried out a new way for machines to connect. The test was successful, and its success means a big hurdle has been crossed as the internet grows up.
[Update on 10-Jun-2011: The answer to the question of the title is “not really” — see the update at the bottom of this post and the comments for more information.]
Many sites are generated from structured data, which is often stored in databases. When this data is formatted into HTML, it becomes very difficult to recover the original structured data. Many applications, especially search engines, can benefit greatly from direct access to this structured data. On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.
The problem is, I think, that the markup they describe on there site generates invalid HTML. Did they really do this?