Yesterday Yahoo spoke about taking search much more into the real world by turning “web pages” into “web objects.” Today there were a couple of announcements at the Where 2.0 conference related to identifying unstructured data online and linking it according to places and locations — in other words made geo-relevant.
Tyler Bell of Yahoo gave the talk at Where about a “geo-enriched location-aware internet.” Where is a very developer-focused event. Bell’s talk was essentially about building the location “infrastructure” that will help support the vision articulated at the Yahoo Search event yesterday. The first aspect of the talk was about Yahoo GeoPlanet (which provides layers of geographic identifiers and place-based information to developers). Bell announced that in addition to offering an API, GeoPlanet will now allow developers to download all the data for free (with attribution to Yahoo) and host the data themselves.
Yahoo also announced Placemaker. Placemaker is an API that enables developers to pass unstructured data in documents to the service. It extracts the location information in those documents and allows the information to be associated with one or more locations (publishers/developers need to decide which places are most important). MetaCarta offers a similar capability.
Absent my attendance at the Yahoo Search event yesterday these would have seemed fairly map-geeky announcements. But in the context of Yahoo’s larger project to more directly tie search and the internet to the physical world this was quite interesting.
Here’s more information from the Yahoo Geo Blog.