Sep 27, 2012

Google Unveils Revised Structured Data Testing Tool

Just to prove that no aspect of online technology can sit still for any longer than a 7-year-old, last week Google launched an updated version of what it previously called its “Rich Snippet Test Tool”. As part of the deal, it’s gotten a new name — the Structured Data Testing Tool . The page is a great deal more sparse than the previous version because all of the help content has been moved to a separate page.

The testing tool continues to support markup for rich snippet search results, but now pulls out authorship markup elements as well. Note that authorship markup is a separate element from a web article’s provenance, or creative history. Establishing and maintaining a web pages’ provenance is still a hot topic amongst semantics experts, hopefully to be resolved at some point in the future.

According to Google, in addition to the more spartan page layout the new version of the testing tool:

  • Improves how rich snippets are displayed to better match how they’ll appear in actual search results listings
  • Is now available in languages other than English to help webmasters in non-English speaking areas produce better structured data markup

The new tool’s “cut and paste” code window now enforces a limit of 1500 characters, which is an aggravation to some developers. While the tool includes a URL interface that allows an entire page to tested, the cut and paste window is handy in cases where the page in question may not be hosted on a public web server — for example, pages that are being produced “offline” by a web developer on his local network’s web server.

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