Feeds

Google bags Metaweb for search future

The web is more than words

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google has acquired Metaweb Technologies, a five-year-old San Francisco startup that maintains a massive open database that details all sorts of real-world stuff in an effort to "build a smarter, more connected Internet."

According to a Google blog post, it sees the Metaweb database — dubbed Freebase — as a path to a kind of semantic web search. "Over time we’ve improved search by deepening our understanding of queries and web pages," Google said. "The web isn’t merely words — it’s information about things in the real world, and understanding the relationships between real-world entities can help us deliver relevant information more quickly...

"Working [with Metaweb], we want to improve search and make the web richer and more meaningful for everyone."

Freebase stores information on over 11 million "things in the world," including movies, books, TV shows, celebrities, locations, and companies. The company was set up to help customers use this data to enhance the design of their websites. "Metaweb is a service that helps you build your website around entities and not just words," the company says in a video describing its operation.

Ah, yes, the oft-repeated promise of the so-called semantic web. As an example, the video says that netizens have been known to refer to the University of California at Berkeley in about 50 different ways — 50 different pieces of text. Metaweb strives to connect those 50 different pieces of text to a single entity. And it works to document the relationships between such entities.

"Because entities represent unique, real-life things, we can build a map that shows how they're related, so you can look for things that share certain attributes, like actresses. That are under twenty. From New York.

"Can you imagine trying to do that with a keyword search?"

Well, Google can. With Metaweb, Mountain View hopes to improve keyword searches. "We’ve acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we’ll be able to provide better answers [to search queries]," Mountain View said.

Google also said it will continue to maintain Freebase for public use. "We plan to contribute to and further develop Freebase and would be delighted if other web companies 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. And to the extent the web becomes a better place, this is good for webmasters and good for users." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.