Sunday, July 18, 2010

Google Buys Metaweb

Google announced Friday that it had acquired Metaweb, a third-party aggregator aimed at webmasters and bloggers. Google has not revealed what it paid for Metaweb, but experts believe it was in the $60 million range. Google will use Metaweb's technology to refine its search results.

Google uses an algorithm and various means to find the most "popular" content, generally determined by the number of other sites and pages which link to it, and those appear at the beginning of the search results. However, Google is not good at determining the nature of search terms, so people searching for words/phrases with multiple meanings often have to sift through several pages of results to find what they are looking for -- especially when the search term is commercial in nature or very popular.

For example, searching for "sierra" -- a mountain or large hill -- brings up mostly cars, as there is a Sierra model vehicle. There is also a cigarette named Sierra, a video game maker, a bullet manufacturer, and more. Google's search technology is largely limited to the very words themselves, leaving the searcher to wade through the mess himself.

Metaweb maintains Freebase, a database (dB) of facts and images on over 12 million topics, organized into thousands of categories, known as "entities." In this way, Metaweb is able to map the relationships between words, subjects, and ideas.

Combining the two approaches will improve the accuracy of Google searches, as well as better organize content across the Web, as many search engines and portals pull their information directly from Google.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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