The Semantic Puzzle

Andreas Blumauer

What if the biggest web company bought one of the central semantic web players?

Well, exactly this happened yesterday: Google bought Metaweb – provider of Freebase. FreebaseFreebase is a large collaborative knowledge base. It is an online collection of structured data harvested from many sources, including individual 'wiki' contribution. Freebase aims to create a global resource which allows people (and machines) to access common information more effectively. It is ... is an important hub in the linked data cloud providing 12 million entities with uniform resource identifiers most of them linked to other semantic web datasets like DBpedia or New York Times. For example: Google´s page on Freebase offers a rich source for machine-readable facts around this company.

What does this mean to the Semantic Web Community which has  been working on a smarter web in the last decade?
Well, a lot… First of all, it´s good to hear that GoogleGoogle Inc. is a multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. The company was ... will continue to develop Freebase as a free and open database to everyone, saying “… we would be delighted if other web companies use and contribute to the data.”

Until yesterday still a lot of companies were not fully convinced if the Semantic Web will play a central role in the further development of the Internet. Now the game has changed. The entity-driven approach to develop web applications has just started now:

We will keep on reporting and discussing how Google will influence the development of the Semantic Web – and if I had a wish for free: Please add RDF(a) to the Freebase widgets!