Google July 16 said it has purchased Metaweb, a semantic search provider whose Freebase open source database catalogs 12 million data sets. The technology will boost Google's ability to produce more relevant answers.
Google July 16 said it has purchased Metaweb
, whose Freebase
open-source database catalogs 12 million movies, books, TV shows, celebrities,
locations and companies, among other data sets.
Freebase maps the relationship of real-world entities, or people,
places and objects, to deliver relevant answers. Metaweb provides
widgets and custom
integrations of this semantic search technology for content providers.
Metaweb, according to this demo
existing relational context to suss out users' intend in their
searches where several different words may be used to query against one entity.
Google intends to use Freebase to help quickly bring
Web searchers accurate answers to questions that are tough for a
Specifically, Google will use the Freebase assets to improve existing
search tools such as rich snippets and searches for factual answers
Google Director of Product Management Jack Menzel
explained in a blog post
that while users can currently find
answers such as President Barack Obama's birthday or specific events happening
in a city, there are additional layers of search and fact finding Google's
existing technology could not serve.
"We can offer this kind of experience because we
understand facts about real people and real events out in the world. But what
about [colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000] or [actors over
40 who have won at least one Oscar]? These are hard questions, and we've
acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we'll be able to provide
The buy also comes nearly two years after Microsoft acquired
Powerset to help its Bing search engine bridge the semantic Web.
search results from a multitude of articles from Wikipedia and,
ironically enough, the Freebase database Google now owns.
In that vein, it is fair to question whether Google will
tinker with Microsoft Bing's existing use of Freebase. Menzel said Google and
Metaweb plan to maintain Freebase as a free and open database and want other Web
companies to use and contribute to the data.
"We believe that by improving Freebase, it will be a
tremendous resource to make the Web richer for everyone," Menzel explained.
"And to the extent the Web becomes a better place, this is good for webmasters
and good for users."
Translation: Neither Bing nor anyone else threatens our
However, Freebase said in a blog post
it is not taking on new content partners as it seeks to help Google "link content
The buy comes two weeks after Google moved to purchase
ITA Software for $700 million, a deal that is soon to face scrutiny from federal regulators.
Read more about the Metaweb acquisition on TechMeme here