In the early days of Web search engines, the basic idea of building a database was fairly simple. Send a spider out to crawl the Web, index the words of each Webpage, and then follow all the links to find more pages. The harder part was figuring out a useful ranking for results -- and the early relevance ranking often missed its mark. Relevance has improved substantially since the search engines' early days. In an effort to make yet more improvements, Google is now moving into reading more structured data from Webpages. With an authorship initiative and a growing use of rich snippets, Google is taking small steps toward relying on a more semantic Web. The authorship initiative at Google is a welcome new approach to the long-term conundrum of identifying and differentiating authors. By creating pages and sites with structured data, Google can create rich snippets, which it defines as "detailed information intended to help users with specific queries."
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