After a few months of work, Jay Myers from BestBuy and Paul Lee from Google Product Search have published the first draft specification of the hProduct microformat. As explained in the introduction of this specification:
The web is a thriving consumer marketplace with a plethora of manufacturers and vendors scattered across the globe. Sifting through massive amounts of unstructured product data is a difficult task for both browsers and machines alike. The hProduct microformat gives structure to this metadata by providing constructs to identify universal product attributes, plus a mechanism to accomodate the wide variation in product attributes.
The hProduct microformat can assist consumers, manufacturers and retailers in a number of ways. If a browser or application understands that a specific web page contains the hProduct microformat, it can inform and help facilitate the best product choice by the consumer to fulfill their needs. An adpoted, open standard will ensure the correct product data is published between manufacturers and retailers, to the benefit of the consumer. Bringing order and structure to product data makes it easy for people and organizations to list the products and services they offer, and easy for web services to consume that product data for analysis and syndication.
Good work, guys! I really hope this format will get traction among manufacturers and retailers in the coming months; and if the spec is not final yet and will surely be discussed (for instance, I have some doubt regarding the relation between hProduct and hListing), its publication is an important milestone for the adoption of this microformat.