Feeds

Yahoo! puts webpages in their place

Lingua geographica

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Yahoo! is offering developers a free online service that gives webpages a certain sense of place.

Today, the company unveiled a beta service it calls Placemaker. You give it blog posts, news articles, and other collections of web words, and it gives you metadata identifying specific geographical locations mentioned in these documents.

"We look for unstructured references to place, say the string 'New York City' or 'NYC' or 'The Big Apple,'" explains Tyler Bell, head of geo-technologies at Yahoo! "Then we do what we call a geo-disambiguation to resolve those to a specific place."

Yahoo! returns a unique identifier for that place, its longitude and latitude, how many times it was found, and exactly where it was found. But the onus is on you - the developer - to actually tag your pages with this metadata and build applications that take advantage of it. Using Yahoo!'s open API, you might shuttle a New York City story, for instance, straight to New York City residents.

What Placemaker doesn't do is semantic analysis, so its tags can tell you only so much. "We can't tell you that although a story was written in Jakarta, it's actually about Darfur," Bell continues. "We simply identify places and it's up the developer to apply rules on top of that."

Placemaker is underpinned by Yahoo! GeoPlanet, a kind of lingua franca for geographical metadata. Or as Bell calls it, a linga geographica. Today, Yahoo! also released GeoPlanet Data, a complete dictionary for this metalanguage. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution license, GeoPlanet Data includes unique identifiers for millions of place names in multiple languages and tags describing the relationships between places.

Yahoo!'s ongoing geo-technology obsession has also produced Fire Eagle, a GeoPlanet-speaking service that stores your personal location information so that websites and applications can readily make use of it. With your approval. Naturally. "We want to provide open tools and open frameworks to allow developers to create a geo-location-aware web," Bell says.

Beginning Thursday, you can access Placemaker here. Geoplanet Data is available here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.