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Google Businesses News

Google Acquires Metaweb 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the nothing-to-do-with-neal-stephenson dept.
eldavojohn writes "A startup called Metaweb (looks like an ontological, entity-based approach to Web 2.0 tagging) has been acquired by Google. You can find out what they're about from a super marketing fluff video they put together. The neat thing about Metaweb is that the database of entities it has is free. Will Google be able to make Metaweb work on their omniscient scale, or was this just Google making sure a startup doesn't become yet another player in search?"
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Google Acquires Metaweb

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  • Silly Logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:35PM (#32931708) Journal

    Will Google be able to make Metaweb work on their omniscient scale, or was this just Google making sure a startup doesn't become yet another player in search?"

    If Metaweb doesn't work at Google's Scale, then it couldn't compete with them.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Svartalfar (867908)
      This wouldn't be the first time a large company bought a start up to prevent it from possibly ever becoming a competitor though. Better to spend peanuts now to buy the possibility then spend a fortune later to fight off a competitor you didn't see coming.
      • by jbell730 (1586063)

        Better to spend peanuts now to buy the possibility then spend a fortune later to fight off a competitor you didn't see coming.

        See also: Microsoft.

      • by yppiz (574466) *

        This is a good point. I don't know if this was a factor in Google's acquisition, but Powerset (acquired by Microsoft and now part of Bing) uses Metaweb's Freebase.

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Better to spend peanuts now to buy the possibility then spend a fortune later to fight off a competitor you didn't see coming.

        If you didn't "see it coming" in five years from now, then you either didn't know of it's existence today, or you made an error of judgment today, or you forgot tomorrow what you knew of today. In which cases you still deserve to die (in a corporate sense) for being incompetent.
        Sounds like this company/ idea has been around a while and Google have decided that their ideas/ technologi

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:37PM (#32931740)

    Everyone was thinking Google would take over the Web, and here they skip right past it and acquire the Metaweb.

    Well played, Google, well played.

  • i didn't' like.

  • Rehab (Score:5, Funny)

    by masterwit (1800118) * on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:45PM (#32931896) Journal

    Will Google be able to make Metaweb work on their omniscient scale, or was this just Google making sure a startup doesn't become yet another player in search?

    Wrong and wrong, you see Google is freebasing [freebase.com] now:
     

    The web isn’t merely words[, or water-soluble,] it’s information about things in the real world, and understanding the relationships between real-world entities...

    Sometimes you have to give it a good ole "smoke-test" to see the possibilities...Google should be careful though, the path they have chosen is a slippery slope!

  • They sure have an ugly web page.

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      For a web 2.0 company ... They sure have an ugly web page.

      Okay, two jokes come to mind right away:

      1) That's why _Google_ bought them!
      2) You already said 'web 2.0'; you don't need to say 'ugly' when you've said that.

  • Looks like this may be a way to make a play for competition in homeland security and business support, like Palantir [palantirtech.com] has done plus medical data tracking, and other possible extrapolations

    I'm fairly sure it's not going to be used for just generating websites.

  • Expanding reach (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ceraphis (1611217)
    Slowly but surely google continues to acquire startups and expand their business. Not that I mind it that much in Google's case but isn't this the type of thing that Microsoft or AT&T eventually got hammered for?

    Legitimately wondering if Microsoft and AT&T did it much more dastardly or if there's no significant comparison whatsoever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      In this case, Google is trying to enhance their core business that is search. The way we search on the internet is still quite primitive and it's also some kind of brute force. I bet all search engine providers are working on making their engines more intelligent and the result will ultimately decide which one will be the last one standing.
  • One of the challenges with generating and using data sets is cleaning them up. Data entry errors, OCR failures, conflicts between multiple sources, etc. make it a pain to search and summarize data. Gridworks [google.com] helps me hunt down bad records and normalize fields. If it keeps improving, people might start using it before publishing their crap data.

  • Was anyone else amused by this? (RTFA)
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:32PM (#32932496) Homepage Journal

    In a way, I miss Alta Vista, in that they had a few things that Google does not:

    • NEAR operator (require the phases occur close in the page, which helped to eliminate the "pile of unrelated stuff" pages)
    • proper Boolean operators in the search, with arbitrary complexity (e.g. "((pre-emergent OR preemergent) AND herbicide AND liquid) AND NOT gluten")
    • and the thing that makes this post on-topic: Alta Vista had a search mode where-in you could refine your search by it presenting a set of additional search terms that helped qualify the meaning of what you searched for.

    Say you searched for "wine", and activated that mode. It would present you with some possible extra terms you could search on, such as "white", "red", "tannic", "windows", "microsoft", "emulator".

    Were you to be searching for the fermented beverage, you could select "red", "white", "tannic" and so on.
    Were you searching for the ABI adapter package, you could select "windows", "Microsoft", and "emulator" (which yes, Wine is NOT...)

    I'd love to see Google add that sort of refinement, ideally "learning" what sorts of terms go with what (Wine + tannic = beverage, wine + OLE = software).

    • by morcego (260031)

      I wish they would just allow us to use regular expressions and be done with it ...

    • Alta Vista had a search mode where-in you could refine your search by it presenting a set of additional search terms that helped qualify the meaning of what you searched for.

      This is in Google! I typed wine and if gave me a whole bunch of choices, like wine tasting and so on. Turn on JavaScript and it should work

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wowbagger (69688)

        It's not quite the same. The Alta Vista approach grouped the tags - it would have grouped "tasting" with "red" and "white", while grouping "OLE" and "DirectX" in a separate grouping. Moreover, it was smart enough to use that grouping to allow you to select the whole group.

        Thus, Alta Vista was better able to detect that sometime "wine" means a beverage, and sometimes software, and that the two concepts are different.

        Google still has trouble understanding that the fermented liquid and the software aren't the

    • Ah hah! Thank you! Every couple of months I find myself trying to remember which search engine used to offer the proper, complex boolean search functionality. Occasionally I even make the rounds through all of the old search engines (the ones that haven't just become aggregators of other search engines, anyway) and give it a try in case I can stumble upon it. I guess I'm out of luck on that.
  • I was on the founding team at Metaweb when we spun out of Applied Minds. I can answer some questions here, but first I wanted to congratulate the team that brought this company all the way to acquisition.

    So, from the beginning we knew that semantic this and ontology that would be a non-starter for most contributors from Planet Earth. While Freebase is a complex system under the hood, the user interface makes contributing data to an existing type (schema) pretty easy. You can add content from a browser windo

    • Pinging ganymede.cs.brandeis.edu [129.64.2.21] with 32 bytes of data:
      Reply from 129.64.2.21: bytes=32 time=24ms TTL=47
      Reply from 129.64.2.21: bytes=32 time=24ms TTL=47
      Reply from 129.64.2.21: bytes=32 time=26ms TTL=47
      Reply from 129.64.2.21: bytes=32 time=25ms TTL=47

      Ping statistics for 129.64.2.21:
      Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
      Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
      Minimum = 24ms, Maximum = 26ms, Average = 24ms


      /Sorry, dont actually need but this is slashdot I
  • Look forward to Freebasing with Google!

  • All your (free)base are belong to us.

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