New Schema.org Vocabularies and Terms Introduced
Schema.org, essentially the Dewey Decimal-style organization governing how the Internet categorizes and distributes both digital and real-world information, has been hard at work expanding its full hierarchy of structured data types. Since Schema.org, comprised of Internet experts from Google, Bing, and Yahoo, started back in June 2011, many industries and groups have requested the organization expand its support database to include specific terms to categorize real estate, product, finance, medical, bibliographic, and other kinds of information. Due to this growing demand for new structured data vocabularies, Schema.org has now announced changes to the way they govern, grow, and manage these vocabularies.
What You Need to Know
Schema.org has made some exciting updates, with undoubtedly more to come in the near future. Here’s the complete list thus far.
New Public Forum: Schema.org formed W3C the Schema.org Community Group, a forum for architects, developers, and marketers alike to stay up to date and/or actively participate in structured data’s evolution. Why join? At the very least, for quick access to new extensions, discussions, and up-to-date news.
New Extension Mechanism – This new extension mechanism is designed to enable groups and industries to extend Schema.org terms to fit their custom use cases. Huh? Yes. Let me explain with this handy example:
Schema.org has designated “ShareAction” as a schema type used for identifying an element which can be shared. However, on certain platforms, like let’s say Pinterest, folks do not share. They pin! You see, sharing and pinning in this context mean the same thing, except pinning is a more precise type of action that means sharing relative to this particular platform. Tricky, tricky.
Due to these types of linguistic relationships, Schema.org has introduced extensions enabling us to extend any schema type – in this case, making “Pinning” an extension of “Sharing”. Look for more extensions to come as more industries and groups embrace schema.org (this is why you should join the working group!).
Publically Present Schema.org Issues on GitHub – In the spirit of the open Internet, Schema.org has moved documentation of their issues and milestones to GitHub. Here, you can see, comment, and review upcoming releases.
New Versioning or Snapshots of the Entire Vocabulary – This page lists the updates rolled out with every release. Details include fixes and examples, site improvements, and new vocabularies.
New Automotive Vocabulary – Schema.org launched the Automotive Ontology Community Group to advance the use of shared conceptual structures in the auto industry across the Internet. What this means is although every car manufacturer may use varying terminologies for each particular item they sell, for example a car door can also be a car hatch, every consumer and manufacturer knows what a car door is – even if it’s a rear hatch, it is still a door. Applying structured data around information such as doors, cargoVolume, fuelCapacity, fuelEfficiency, fuelType, etc. will allow everyone – consumers, developers, car manufacturers – to connect the most meaningful data points at the right times.
Why Should Brands Care About All of This?
Because this is where the Internet is headed. Google and other tech and Internet groups are hard at work assisting their users in getting the exact information they need to optimize with structured data. In fact, at this years’ Google I/O Developers conference, Aparna Chennapragada, Director of Google Now, showcased her team’s current project, which leverages entities such as the ones discussed above in schema.org.
Ultimately, Google is moving towards creating a conversational search engine where queries will move from explicitly stated names to implicit context. In order for Google to return the appropriate answers to your customers’ questions, you need to help it understand the entities contained in your webpage or app.
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