July 16, 2010

On Google, Metaweb and Freebase

"We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us."
~ Marshall McLuhan

I thought i'd give you a heads-up on some developments behind the "informatics" of exoplanetology, at least about the tool or platform that I've been using for the past few years.
You may have heard about Freebase, the open database where I add bits of information about exoplanets. Freebase is also the engine behind the auto-suggest feature of The Exoplanet Seeker.
Well, some googly eyes from Google have noticed Freebase and decided to buy it. Metaweb, the outfit behind Freebase is now officially part of Google.
As you know, Exoplanetology has been on Freebase for more than 3 years now. I've enjoyed adding all those bits of data into Freebase, but sometimes I worry that all that time I spend inputting data into Freebase might go down the drain if Metaweb fails to sustain itself. But I kept at it anyways, because its fun contributing what I learn (and learning as I contribute). So now, that worry is alleviated by the fact that Google's vision about the Semantic Web aligns closely with Metaweb's. What makes me happy is that Google and Metaweb will continue to maintain Freebase as a free and open database for the world. Well, that deserves a big "Yay!"