Google Maps’ microformats: unhappy anniversary – still broken after three years

Three years ago today — on 31 July 2007 — Google proudly announced that they had added hCard microformats to Google Maps, so that, as they put it:

your browser can easily recognize the address and contact information in the page, and help you transfer it to an addressbook or phone more easily

Less than four hours after seeing a mailing-list repost of that announcement, by Google‘s Kevin Marks (one of the two signatories of the initial announcement), I replied, pointing out that the implementation was badly broken, and that none of the microformats in a search for a single entity, in this case a school, were valid. (As is usual on Google’s own blogs, there was no facility for comments on the original announcements.)

Google‘s Gregor J. Rothfuss, the announcement’s other signatory, replied that he would look into the matter.

Almost a month later, I asked Gregor if there had been any progress, and he said (I quote him in full):

i will work on it when i have some time.

so I took him at his terse word, and left him to it, with no further reminders. That’s the last I heard from anyone at Google on the issue.

Three years on, though the specific faults have changed, not one of the microformats in the Google Maps search linked above is valid (the mandatory “fn”, or “formatted name” property is missing; address components lack the mandatory child-properties) and I have been unable to find one that is, in other results. They are as useless to someone wanting to add the subject’s address to their address book today as they were on day one.

Update, 31 July 2011: Another year has passed, the microformats are still broken.

About Andy Mabbett

Enjoying my freelance career, helping organisations to understand on-line communities, open content, and related issues; often as a Wikimedian (or Wikipedian) in Residence.
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