In 2011, Google, Microsoft (Bing) and Yahoo, the big three search engines (Yandex later joined), teamed up to launch Schema.org, an initiative to support a common set of schemas for structured data markup on webpages.
This week, the companies announced the introduction of vocabulary to let sites describe actions they enable and how said actions can be invoked.
"When we launched schema.org almost 3 years ago, our main focus was on providing vocabularies for describing entities --- people, places, movies, restaurants, ... But the Web is not just about static descriptions of entities. It is about taking action on these entities --- from making a reservation to watching a movie to commenting on a post," says a blog post from Google's Jason Douglas and Sam Goto, Microsoft's Steve Macbeth and Jason Johnson, Yandex's Alexander Shubin, and Yahoo's Peter Mika.
They refer to the new vocabulary as "the next chapter of schema.org and structured data on the web."
"The new actions vocabulary is the result of over two years of intense collaboration and debate amongst the schema.org partners and the larger Web community," they write. "Many thanks to all those who participated in these discussions, in particular to members of the Web Schemas and Hydra groups at W3C. We are hopeful that these additions to schema.org will help unleash new categories of applications."
A couple years ago, Google's Matt Cutts put out a video discussing schema.org markup as a ranking signal.
"Just because you implement schema.org doesn’t mean you necessarily rank higher," he said. "But there are some corner cases like if you were to type in ‘lasagna,’ and then click over on the left-hand side and click on ‘recipes,’ that’s the sort of thing where using schema.org markup might help, because then you’re more likely to be showing up in that at all. So there are some cases where it can be helpful to use schema.org markup.”
Here's an overview document that covers what exactly is changing.
Image via Schema.org