There is a lot of coverage on the web today about Yahoo! bringing together a bunch of its properties — Flickr, Yahoo! Maps, Upcoming, and Yahoo! Local and finally adding in support for “Geo Tagging” in Flickr. Back in June, at the Content 2.0 event here in London,
SVP of Yahoo! Bradley Horowitz mentioned they would “soon provide geo tagging support“.
But of course their competitor Zooomr has had this very useful feature for a while now, as has Multimap.com, one of the oldest mapping companies here in the UK which has been supporting the geo microformat to mark up the latitude and longitude of values on their map pages.
Reading the through the volume of coverage, one thing that seems to not have been mentioned is the support for Microformats that Yahoo are quietly building into all of their products and this is just another example of that support.
- Upcoming.org – vevent
- Yahoo! Local – hcard
- Yahoo! Tech – hreview
- Flickr -hcard, geo
Adding in “geo tagging” support to Flickr means that in the future people will be able to use the underlying “geo” microformat to search and better discover new location based data.
So what does the geo microformat markup look like. If your Geo location is: N 37° 24.491 W 122° 08.313, then your geo markup would look like this and it would display like this on a web page. N 37° 24.491 W 122° 08.313.
Technorati is one of the first companies with a semantic search engine. It currently enables people to search for hcard, vevent and hcalendar microformat markup but doesn’t currently support the geo microformat, I expect it will soon. Below is an example of a search for the “Geek In The Park” event held this week in the UK which was marked up with a number of microformats.
This search was done using the hcalendar microformat which enabled me to add the event details – date, time , location etc – to my calendar without having to cut and paste or type the content in manually. (Note: In the coming weeks I too will also be marking up the UK events here on TechCrunch using the hcalendar microformat and all reviews will be marked up using the hreview.)
So what is the benefit then? Well as more microformat content is created and more semantic search engine support appears, hopefully it will make it easier to find the things we want quicker and reuse the content. Microsoft announced that they will soon be launching a product called Live Clipboard which enables you to cut and paste data between sites or applications whilst retaining the underlying structure.
How many times have you been to a companies website and wanted to copy their address into your contacts database but using the current cut and paste method, you find yourself manually adding in the data to each relevant field. Well with Live Clipboard and microformats you will be able to cut and paste the data directly to your contacts and have the software populate the correct fields for you because of the underlying semantic structure.
What we are seeing with microformats is just the start of the semantic web. One thing I have wondered for a while is when will Yahoo! buy Technorati. Yahoo! clearly like the idea of microformats and are showing this in the support they are building into their products. What’s missing right now is a way to search for microformats using Yahoo Search.
Once Microsoft launches Live Clipboard I guess people will begin to add this functionality to their sites. How long before we hear the term Microformat Mashup?
Note: Calvin Yu has written a web service that will allow you plot and describe places on a Yahoo Map easily using hReview and geo.
UPDATE: from Flickr
Geotagging – one day later — The First Day — “When we were doing our projections for how many photos Flickr members would geotag, we though that we’d hit a million in the first month, maybe even as fast as two weeks. Instead, 24 hours in, there were 1,234,384 geotagged photos …