Rickard Andersson recently added Microformat support to punBB, a fast and lightweight PHP-powered discussion board (forum). In particular, he just added support for the MicroID, a small decentralized verifiable identity. The MicroID allows…
…any content owner or web site to publish a simple portable identity token associated with entire pages, blocks of content, or particular pieces of data. This is for identification and ownership verification purposes only, not authentication, authorization, communication, or any other identity related function.
In a sense, MicroID is a simple technique to wrap any existing communication identifier in a generic way and enable it to be uniquely and safely published in association with some content. The technique works while protecting privacy and remaining fully decentralized. This applies to owners of sites and pages, and just as importantly, for services that host content generated by users (blog posts, blog comments, forums, videos, account profiles, url lists, friend lists, and so on). These services can add a MicroID to the user’s content (and microformats!) and enable that user to verify to anyone that it is theirs.
It appears that he’s adding the MicroID to punBB’s edit and view profile page for users. Microformats, like the MicroID, allow bots (like Googlebot) to understand and organize data better. Since microformats strictly define the information, bot engines can correctly identify and utilize the data, instead of having to make algorithmic guesses.
Since microformats communicate so well with search engine bots, they’re being called the next SEO by many search engine optimizers. That means you can expect to see more microformat integration in the future. That will be a win for standards and possibly a boon for SEO.