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Google forces taxonomy via Products

Well as anyone that follows this blog knows, the concept of a single taxonomy for the web has been a topic of discussion for some time. Bing, Google, and others have joined up in the project as we reported previously, but Google has taken it to a whole new level!

How can Google do this? Well it is actually very easy. Recently they released a new “mandatory enhancement” to their Product listing service, or product data feed. This change requires all products to have

  • The “Image” attribute is now required in every country except Japan. Users can still submit up to 10 additional images for their product.
  • The “Availability” attribute, which indicates whether an item is currently out of stock, is now required in the U.S., UK, Germany, and France.
  • Product categories will have to be specified for the following categories:
    • Apparel & Accessories (including sub-categories of “Clothing” and “Shoes”).
    • Media (including sub-categories of “Books,” “DVDs & Movies,” and “Music”).
    • Software (including the sub-category “Video Game Software”).
  • Items in the “Apparel” category in the U.S. will require the “Age Group,” “Gender,” “Color,” and “Size” to be listed in the product feed.
  • A new set of “Variant Attributes” will now be required in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, and Japan for any product that varies in “color,” “size,” “material,” and “pattern.”
You can find out more about the details on Google’s Support Page.
Really some might ask… why does it mater? Well this is another perfect example of how Google enhances its relevance models, and continues to drive the world of search. By forcing (and by the way you have to have all of the minimum requirements done by September 22nd 2011)  site owners to enhance their feeds, they can enhance their sort options, leverage different sets of relationships between between known concepts within their taxonomy, and to filter out additional spam or old sites.
So what is their taxonomy? Easy… check out their taxonomy page for more information.
What does it mean? Well wait for their next round where you, if you own a company, need to include in your information or metadata all of the information about your company… wait… isn’t the concept of the OpenGraph Protocol already doing this with the support of Facebook?