Metaweb Technologies’ Freebase.com

Our old friend Danny Hillis is in the news again with a new company called Metaweb Technologies. Its first product is called Freebase.

From the Freebase site:

“We want to make it possible for you to add high quality structured information to your websites, mashups and applications without worrying about restrictive corporate licenses. All data is licensed Creative Commons Attribution.”

From the New York Times:

“A new company founded by a longtime technologist is setting out to create a vast public database intended to be read by computers rather than people, paving the way for a more automated Internet in which machines will routinely share information.”

From The Next Net:

“The idea behind Freebase, conceived by computer scientist Danny Hillis, is that the Web is too chaotic as it is and it would be easier to find things if there was more structure to it. That is, if every piece of information on the Web could be tagged and categorized, finding exactly what you want wouldn’t be such a pain, especially for computers. “

From Techcrunch:

“Like Google Base, Freebase is a massive database. The purpose of the database is to centralize as much data as possible, and allow participants to freely add and access data – developers can extract information from Freebase via a set of APIs and add it to their web applications. It also builds relationships between highly structured pieces of data, something that can’t easily be done with distributed data controlled by different entities.

Freebase looks to be what Google Base is not: open and useful. I imagine there will be more than one forehead self-smacked at Google HQ tomorrow, as they think “We could have done this.”

From O’Reily Radar:

“Metaweb has slurped in the contents of several of the web’s freely accessible databases, including much of wikipedia, and song tracks from musicbrainz. It then turns its users loose on not just adding more data items but making connections between them by filling out meta tags that categorize or otherwise connect the data items, using a typology that can be extended by users, wiki-style.

Metaweb still has a long way to go, but it seems to me that they are pointing the way to a fascinating new chapter in the evolution of Web 2.0.”

About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.

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