Ever hear that term "When Hell Freezes Over"? Well it might have! It seems 3 of the big 4 - Google, Yahoo! and MSN have come together to finally agree that they will all use the same protocol for website sitemaps. Hoping to see that Ask.com will make an announcement of their own that they are going to follow these protocols too.
TechCrunch and Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Watch are both reporting on this at length, I'm thinking it might have been announced at PubCon (but not reference to that in the article) - but since I'm not there, I might have to refer that one over to Search Marketing Guru's Chris Hooley to verify.
This is great news for webmasters, and again it's great to see the Search Engines agreeing to common ground on things. First we had "NoFollow" for links, then came NOODP, and now agreement on sitemaps protocol - awesome work! A great round of applause should go out to the engineers at these search engines for working together to help establish standard protocols that webmasters and search marketers alike can follow.
If you are wondering about what the Sitemaps protocol standard is, there's a site that explains it all - Sitemaps.org.