Google buys Metaweb, chases more complicated search

There is no word yet on whether Microsoft will continue to use Metaweb in Bing

Google on Friday said it acquired Metaweb, a company that maintains a database of information that it offers to website operators wishing to aggregate content about specific topics on their sites.

The companies did not reveal the purchase price.

As is typical with Google acquisitions, Metaweb said it plans to support existing customers but won't take new ones while it integrates with Google.

It will be interesting to see whether Google rival Microsoft continues to use Metaweb. According to Metaweb, Bing uses Metaweb to provide Instant Answers in its search results and in visual search. The Instant Answers feature displays answers to questions at the top of the Bing search results page, before the results listing.

Microsoft did not immediately reply to a request for confirmation about its relationship with Metaweb or its intentions following the acquisition.

Google said it believes Metaweb can help it offer better answers to more complex questions that people pose to search engines. Google can offer answers to factual queries such as "Barack Obama's birthday" because it understands facts about real people and events, Jack Menzel, director of product management at Google, wrote in a blog post about the acquisition.

But searches for phrases such as "colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000" are more difficult to respond to, he said. "These are hard questions, and we've acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we'll be able to provide better answers," he said.

Current Metaweb products include embeddable information boxes on any topic that customers can add to their websites or blog posts, a tool that lets website operators query certain content sources, such as Twitter and Hulu, and custom data feeds.

Metaweb also hosts an open database called Freebase that contains information about 12 million people, places and things. Anyone can contribute to the database and anyone can license it, using the data on their own sites.

Google said it plans to continue to maintain Freebase as a free and open database and expects to further develop it.

Tags business issuesGooglemergers & acquisitionsMicrosoftMetawebinternetsearch engines

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?