Google buys Metaweb and Freebase

Is this the future of searching on the web?

"Words are weak" say the creators of Metaweb. The future of search is all about the 'entities'.

While the eyes of the tech world were focussed on Steve Jobs' 'Antennagate' conference, Google was picking up Metaweb - a web search company that wants to do away with traditional keyword searches altogether.

Instead of using search terms, Metaweb's method of search works by linking together 'entities': an expansive list of 'things' on the web like people and places, each of which have other pieces of web content (videos, lyrics, blog posts etc.) associated with them, displayed right there on their page. So when a user searches for, say, a famous actor, instead of being hit with a wave of hit-and-miss search results, users are taken to a page listing details like starring roles, award nominations, misguided forays into the music business etc.

Unlike Wikipedia, however, all the information on that page is then linked to other entities, so in the award section you'll find links to all the other actors nominated for the same awards that year, and so on and so forth. You can try out Metaweb's search for yourself here.

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Furthermore according to a post on the Google blog, because of the way entities link to each other, users will be able to search for answers to questions with conversational-level complexity (the example they use is "actors over 40 who have won at least one Oscar"). This builds on Google's current question and answer system, where users can ask simple questions like "how old is Barack Obama" and get a simple answer, rather than traipsing through results pages.

Metaweb is an ongoing project for Google, and isn't a featured part of their home page as yet, although the blog post promises to keep us updated on the project "in the coming months".

You can watch Metaweb's video explaining how it all works here.

Via: The Google Blog