Thursday, May 22, 2008
14. John Giannandrea, "Freebase: An Open Database of the World's Information"
PARC Forum: April 17, 2008, 4:00 p.m., George E. Pake Auditorium, Palo Alto, CA , USA
Freebase: An Open Database of the World's Information
John Giannandrea, Metaweb Technologies
Freebase -- an open database of the world's information -- is built by a global community and is free for anyone to query, contribute to, and build applications on. Drawing from large open data sets like Wikipedia, MusicBrainz, and the SEC, Freebase is curated by a passionate global community of users and contains structured information on millions of topics such as music, food ingredients, rocket engines, stock indices, historical events, and more.
Part of what makes this open database unique is that it spans domains, but requires that a particular topic exist only once in Freebase -- even if it might normally be found in multiple databases. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger would appear in a movie database as an actor, a political database as a governor, and in a bodybuilder database as a Mr. Universe. In Freebase, however, there is only one topic for Arnold Schwarzenegger that brings all these facets together. The unified topic is a single reconciled identity, which makes it easier to find and contribute information about the linked world we live in.
John Giannandrea co-founded Metaweb Technologies in July 2005. Previously, he was CTO of TellMe Networks, Inc., where he was responsible for the development and operation of the world's largest VoiceXML network -- which was acquired by Microsoft Corporation in 2007. Prior to TellMe, John was Chief Technologist of Netscape's Web browser group. Throughout his career, he has contributed extensively to industry Internet standards and protocols, including Java, HTTP, SSL, and RDF. John is originally from Scotland and graduated from Strathclyde University.