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Flash application with Freebase

Posted by Charles | June 27, 2007 .

I’m able to participate Freebase alpha testing (I have five invitations. drop me a line if want to play with it!). Freebase.com is home to a global knowledge base: a structured, searchable, writeable and editable database built by a community of contributors, and open to everyone. It could be described as a data commons. It’s quite different from Google base, which stores data in a much more relaxed fashion. Freebase wants to turn data to be knowledge, where the data is structural and related. The example given in the diagram shows how they related data with types, which make the data more useful and meaningful. Freebase has full set API (REST) allows develop custom applications to consume the data.

Nodes and relationships

Obviously Google’s intention for Google Base is to index the user uploaded data and provide contextual ads when user browser the data. Freebase, on the other hands, wants to be wikipedia of data (knowledge), which is more organized. Applications and application developers all like database, of cause. Here is a Flash application that uses Freebase data, SoundLine:

soundline thumb Flash application with Freebase

There is urgent push to solve the data end of problem on web. However, with all these APIs floating around, it feels like those pre-ODBC/SQL days. Most of web applications build on top of SQL based RDBMS, such as MySQL. There are frameworks, such as Ruby on Rails, can be used to easily access data. Web database like Freebase really needs go further to support popular frameworks to make its data more accessible. There is distinguished line between “open” and “standard”. When the API is a de facto feature for a web system, chasing standard is the next big game.

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2 Comments so far
  1. Alberto  June 29, 2007 2:15 am

    I would like so much to test this application. I think the concept is great and I’m sure it will be the way to go in the next years of “semantic web”. I’ll be so grateful if you can invite me to test it.

    Lots of thanks in advanced.

    Alberto

  2. Maz  June 29, 2007 4:03 am

    I definitely want to test this application, if you have any invite left…

    You are right, MetaWeb is clearly taking the right approach to online knowledge bases. They are positioned between Cyc project (structured, close, only accessible to confirmed contributors) and Google Base which very much relies on its search abilities on unstructured data.

    Now what they should (or maybe already) have is a clean+smooth knowledge editor, to attract as much contributors as possible. That is a direction I definitely want to take with bubble-mind ( http://www.bubble-mind.com )

    {Maz}

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