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Google, Yahoo and Microsoft unite

In a joint initiative, rivals Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, form an unusual alliance to make web search easier.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2006 11:48 IST

Internet search rivals Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have  formed an unusual alliance to support a shared standard regarding how websites are pinpointed for their indexes.

The "joint initiative" was intended to make it easier for webmasters, or website creators, to let Internet search engines know what their online pages contained, according to Google.

Search engines could use the information gathered in the "web crawl" process to better tailor results for their users.

Yahoo and Microsoft announced on Thursday that  they would each support Google's "Sitemaps 0.90" protocol instead of using different standards for submissions by webmasters.

"The launch of Sitemaps is significant because it allows for a single, easy way for websites to provide content and metadata to search engines," said Yahoo Search director of product management,Tim Mayer.

"Sitemaps helps webmasters surface content that is typically difficult for crawlers to discover, leading to a more comprehensive search experience for users."

Google launched its first Sitemaps protocol in June 2005.

A Sitemap is a website file that acts as a marker for search engines to "crawl" certain pages. It allows webmasters to list their online addresses, called "URLs," along with data such as the last time the page was updated.

The Sitemaps protocol used by Google has been widely adopted by many Web properties, including sites from the Wikimedia Foundation.