Bill Burnham’s recently wrote a great post with a long title: A Unified Theory of Search, Social Networking, Structured Blogging, RSS and the Active Web. He’s talking about how, in the future, we’ll be able to tag content (“structured content”) on our personal and business website in a way that will make it more sensible to be indexed and searched.
A couple of days ago, I posted about GE’s use of RSS to make available podcasts of its financial announcements. In the world that Burnham’s envisioning, GE’s website would actually have a set of metadata in XML that would point, in a sructured way, to all manner of information about the company. It could, for example, even contain the full employee directory of everyone who works at GE – suitably protected so that it only made sense to legitimate business partners of the firm.
A couple of years ago, Dan Bricklin started down this path by describing some core XML that a company could put on its web site. He called it SMBmeta. Dan’s notion didn’t get much uptake – but it was early and the window of opportunity for it may yet lie ahead, particularly as new vertically focused search opportunities emerge.