Google Buys Open Content Aggregator Metaweb
In a blog post, Jack Menzel, Director of Product Management at Google said the company has acquired "open database of things in the world" Metaweb in a move that will make the Mountain View-based giant's search results both "richer and more meaningful for everyone." Financial details of the deal were not provided but Google last week hinted at potential future (external) growth when reporting second-quarter earnings.
Google Vs Bing
Metaweb maintains Freebase, a "free and open database of over 12 million things, including movies, books, TV shows, celebrities, locations, companies and more," Menzel wrote. (Freebase says the same, and yet there's a slight discrepancy there with Metaweb's own definition, which claims "11 million" such things.) In any case, this sounds very much like Google's own way to respond to Bing Entertainment, the one-stop hub launched in late June by the Microsoft unit to provide deep contextual search a new meaning.
Google Vs Facebook
At the same time, this acquisition of Metaweb and its Freebase also looks like another element of Google's effort to play in Facebook's social league. After all, Freebase's basic principle is its open API that allows to link and interlink content across the web from a profile page... So far, Google has left the rumors flowing and did not even bother to comment on its reported intention of going genuinely (as opposed to the Buzz fiasco) social to compete with Facebook. The reports of its alleged Google Me platform have failed to convince although Facebook's former CTO, Adam D'Angelo said the plans were for real. But now with both the Metaweb buy and a reported $100-200 million investment in social gaming platform Zynga, it may well be that Google Me has more to it than just a wild rumor flying around and keeping people busy guessing.
Take a look at the presentation video of Metaweb:
What do you think?