Monday, 1 August 2011

Is Rich Snippet Saving Linked Data as well as Multimedia?

As I said in my previous post Want a semantic web/ linked data job?, how linked data is distributed to end users will depend on big companies. The current "big companies" will not necessarily survive after 10 years. When you are using the latest Google Chrome browser, can you still remember that it was Netscape who introduced massive users about what is a browser for the first time. Anyway, me, as a researcher and developer of linked data, have to flatter Google, Yahoo, Microsoft's favours, i.e. I have to create what they think valuable, and publish data to their favours... poor me...

Here is an interesting presentation about Google's vision of using Linked data in its search:
How Google is using Linked Data Today and Vision For Tomorrow

Before I looked the presentation, I would expect Google mentions some giant projects in Linked Data, something like DBpedia, Freebase, RKBExplorer, Jena, Sesame, etc. But quite to my surprise, the presentation is more like an advertisement of RDFa and microformats (known as Rich Snippet). Why? Google, you naughty boy! Google is a search engine indexing web pages, so where is the reason for Google to develop another big chunk of functions like Sindice to crawl triple stores? Google is clever and has already dominate most users' search experience. If you go to Sindice, you will find that if you are not an expert of semantic Web, you will have no idea how to do an efficient search and how to understand the search results.

Google adopt the RDFa as the pattern of publishing linked data and use it to provide better search results. Some vocabularies, such as Event, Reviews, Geo location, etc, are now machine-understandable ( or more exactly, "Google understandable").  OK, what I really care about is the position of multimedia in Rich Snippet. If you copy the url of a Youtube video replaying page into Sindice's inspector tool, you won't find any RDFa. Is Youtube a company owned by Google? Yes! But where is RDFa in Youtube?

Well, there are some resource about multimedia and RDFa Google is trying to work on RDFa and videos:
Supporting Facebook Share and RDFa for Videos
It's a good step forward at least we can see some basic metadata about video in RDFa. And if you do embed these attributes in your page, you will find your search result in Google will display an thumb image instead of just a link. Isn't it great?

However, that is not the end. Where are the media fragments then? I am fed up with WHOLE multimedia search now. I need to find media fragments! Can you index media fragments in RDFa? This picture is quite amazing in Google's linked data presentation:

But unfortunately, this is only a mockup! I am recently working on a demo of indexing UK Parliament debate video. I have tried to embed RDFa into the debate replay page. See the screen cast of the demo from youtube video. I used Media Fragment 1.0 draft and some Linked Open Data Event (LODE) ontologies to give a simple model of the debate.

I think Google will index media fragments embedded in RDFa one day. I can't see any reason why not. It will be same to Bing, Yahoo, or even Baidu in China~~~

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