Today's European Union decision that Google must be compelled to remove links, at a user's request, to information about a user that is (somehow) judged to "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" is all sorts of terrible.
In the several hundred intervening years between the birth of Gutenberg and the birth of Google, millions of damning pieces of information have been published about individuals. The fact that this information has only been available digitally doesn't mean that it has, until now, been inaccessible. Through most of recent history access to such information has been provided through printed indexes.
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the official introduction of Google rich snippets, announced in a Webmaster Central blog post of May 12, 2009.
Google had been experimenting with "enhanced listings" as far back as December 2008, with review and product rich snippets being spotted in results for Yelp, Citysearch, CNET, TripAdvisor and Download.com. The May 2009 announcement provided these enhanced listings with an official name, and explained how these results were generated.
The announcement post extolled the virtue of giving "users convenient summary information about their search results at a glance" through rich snippets, and provided information about the markup formats that were used to generate rich snippets – intially microformats and RDFa.
The number of rich snippet types displayed in Google has grown steadily over the past five years. I've compiled a list of these rich snippets, along with a rendering of the example snippet that accompanied each Google announcement. This inventory may not be wholly comprehensive, but I believe you'll find the most important rich snippet types listed.