One thing I love about Google is how they are constantly moving forward with new stuff. They rarely ship monumentally groundbreaking stuff that no one expected. Instead, they try a little bit of everything and then either iterate, drop it, or merge it into something else. There are a ton of examples of this from Google, but the one that interests me the most right now is authorship.
The web is an evolving creature, but some of the ideals from the very beginning are still very much with us. The idea of “hypermedia” documents, linked across resources that span across any concieveable topic, available instantly for anyone to access was and continues to be world changing.
We are stewards
As a web developer, I feel a responsibility to uphold the spirit of the web, and when new tools emerge to help further that spirit, I can’t help but get a little excited. Lately, web search services have been pushing a bunch of new ways to collect useful information about a resource based on structured data. These structures are defined in the markup of the web page, and define meta information about a resource so that search crawlers can better organize information and display it to a user who is interested in it.
One of these structures defines authorship of a web document, which allows a person viewing a list of search results to easily see additional information about the author of a specific result. This lets the viewer learn more about who wrote the article before reading it, right on the search results page. It’s a really cool feature and one that I hope is employed by more web developers as time goes on.
The better we can mark up resources to make it easier for search engines to catalog the world’s data, the easier everyone’s lives will become. I’ve already set up my site to use authorship, and I will continue to markup my site as new standards evolve.
Here are some resources to get you started if you’re interested: