Google buys semantic web database firm

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Google buys semantic web database firm

Metaweb deal designed to improve search results.

Google has acquired an open database company to improve the quality of its search results.

San Francisco-based Metaweb has been compiling an open database of the web since 2005 using metadata tagging.

Google plans to use Metaweb's open-source Freebase catalogue, described as a "free database of the world's information", to filter search terms according to information on real people, places or events, for example.

The technology will also improve the speed and management of semantic web development, based on the concept of "linking content with entities", according to the search giant.

"Working together we want to improve search and make the web richer and more meaningful for everyone," said Jack Menzel, a product management director at Google, in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

In its own posting, Metaweb said that business will continue as usual, while Menzel added that Google will add its own efforts to maintaining the Freebase catalogue.

Freebase will now have its downloadable database dumps made available on a weekly rather than quarterly basis.

The new addition is likely to bolster Google's own semantic search development. Earlier this year, the firm announced improvements to Google Squared, its attempt to find and extract structured data from across the web launched in 2009.

Google's Universal Search feature, meanwhile, which blends results from different content types such as web pages, images, videos and books, has been in development for over two years.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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