Posted by Dan Farber @ 4:55 am
One of the stealthy semantic Web startups, Metaweb Technologies revealed its product strategy. According to John Markoff’s New York Times story, Metaweb is developing Freebase, “a centralized repository that is more like a digital almanac,” in contrast to the distributed card catalog that is the current way Web is searched. Freebase captures structured data that allows relationships and meaning to be established among things on the Web, much like the human brain works. Markoff wrote:
For example, an entry for California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would be entered as a topic that would include a variety of attributes or “views” describing him as an actor, athlete and politician — listing them in a highly structured way in the database.
That would make it possible for programmers and Web developers to write programs allowing Internet users to pose queries that might produce a simple, useful answer rather than a long list of documents.
Since it could offer an understanding of relationships like geographic location and occupational specialties, Freebase might be able to field a query about a child-friendly dentist within 10 miles of one’s home and yield a single result.