"schema.org" introduced today, is a new initiative from Google, Bing and Yahoo! to create and support a common vocabulary for structured data markup on web pages.
"With schema.org, site owners and developers can learn about structured data and improve how their sites appear in major search engines. The site aims to be a one stop resource for webmasters looking to add markup to their pages," Google informed.
"With schema.org, site owners can improve how their sites appear in search results not only on Google, but on Bing, Yahoo! and potentially other search engines as well in the future."
"In addition to consolidating the schemas for the categories we already support, schema.org also introduces schemas for more than a hundred new rich snippets markup, including movies, music, organizations, TV shows, products, places and more (full list of all schema.org types)," Google stated. The new markup types may be used for future rich snippets formats as well as other types of improvements to help people find your content more easily when searching.
"As webmasters add this markup to their sites, search engines can develop richer search experiences. With webmaster feedback, we'll be able to regularly publish new schemas for sites to use and, in turn, expand the list of queries with rich results. For webmasters who've already added microformats or RDFa currently supported by rich snippets, their sites will still appear with rich snippets on Google," Google added.
To get an overview of microdata as well as the conventions followed by schema.org, take a look at the schema.org Getting Started guide.
"As with previous rich snippets markup formats, you should use the rich snippets testing tool for this purpose. Note that while the testing tool will show the marked up information that was parsed from the page, rich snippets previews are not yet shown for schema.org markup. We'll be adding this functionality soon."
The schema.org website and the rich snippets testing tool are in English. However, Google shows rich snippets in search results globally, so there's no need to wait to start marking up your pages.
[Source: Google Webmaster Central]