Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is Google the database of the Web?

Yesterday Google announced plans to improve its user's searching experience by providing more ways to search and find information on the Web. With Google's new search options and rich snippets, it is putting it self in a position to not simply link to desired pages, but actually provide the information directly.

By adopting RDFa, Google hopes to make it possible to start importing the deeper web into its cluster. It is starting by asking publishers of reviews, people, products, and organizations sites to share the raw data directly, so it can server the information without requiring its users to visit the publisher's site. Although Google is not the first search engine to use RDFa in the results, it is the first to start using it across all sites.

I am happy to finally see Google start to include rich semantics in its interface, but I worry what this might mean to publishers. Will Google become the database of the Web? Will the Web surfers of tomorrow never leave Google's domain? Time will tell, but lets hope this triggers new discussions on how we "browse" the growing web of data.

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