A few days ago Google, Microsoft and Yahoo has agreed to join forces for defining a standard for sitemaps usage based on a XML which simplificates the work of the search engine bots, by distributing available site strucutre information. Originally developed by Google and already in use since about a year by Google Sitemaps has become a standard de-facto and as a matter of a fact, the version publicated on the sitemaps.org site has a higher version(0.9) then one i am using at the moment(0.7).
It is very nice to see, that the big 3 of the search are finally agreeing on something, which will make work of the webmasters easier. This way, we wont have to implement three independent solutions for each of the search engines, and i am more then welcoming it. The only question that i have in my mind is how much time will their stick to it and keep working together, since Microsoft is known for ignoring the common standards and defining their own, but in this case, because Google is the absolute market leader all over the world, i believe, that as long as microsoft dont have market controlled, they are most probably going go stick to it.
Another interesting thing about this organization is the license, under which they are distributing this information. I confess, that this “Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License” is quite a surprise for me, especially since a rant, made a couple days ago by Mr. Ballmer about Linux and its license.