By Seth Weintraub
July 18, 2010

Lost in the iPhone apology announcement excitement yesterday was a big Google acquisition.

Google announced it had purchased Metaweb for an undisclosed sum yesterday.  Metaweb is a company that organizes data on the web by ‘entity’.  What’s that?  Cue the video:

Metaweb should add some intelligence to Google’s search engine algorithms.  But that’s not all they get.

Google also mentions their interest in Freebase (might be time for a rebrand on that name), one of Metaweb’s products.  Freebase fancies themselves as an entity graph of people, places and things, built by a community that loves open data.  A more social and organized Wikipedia of sorts which may be a big addition to Google’s Knol.

In addition to our ideas for search, we’re also excited about the possibilities for Freebase, Metaweb’s free and open database of over 12 million things, including movies, books, TV shows, celebrities, locations, companies and more. Google and Metaweb plan to maintain Freebase as a free and open database for the world. Better yet, we plan to contribute to and further develop Freebase and would be delighted if other web companies use and contribute to the data. We believe that by improving Freebase, it will be a tremendous resource to make the web richer for everyone. And to the extent the web becomes a better place, this is good for webmasters and good for users.

That sounds a little bit Facebooky to me, at least in where Facebook looks to be heading.  It will be interesting to see if Google can integrate this compilation and organization of knowledge into their rumored social offering as well.

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