UMBC ebiquity
chmod 000 Freebase

chmod 000 Freebase

Tim Finin, 8:22pm 2 May 2016

rip freebase

He’s dead, Jim.

Google recently shut down the query interface to Freebase. All that is left of this innovative service is the ability to download a few final data dumps.

Freebase was launched nine years ago by Metaweb as an online source of structured data collected from Wikipedia and many other sources, including individual, user-submitted uploads and edits. Metaweb was acquired by Google in July  2010 and Freebase subsequently grew to have more than 2.4 billion facts about 44 million subjects. In December 2014, Google announced that it was closing Freebase and four months later it became read-only. Sometime this week the query interface was shut down.

I’ve enjoyed using Freebase in various projects in the past two years and found that it complemented DBpedia in many ways. Although its native semantics differed from that of RDF and OWL, it was close enough to allow all of Freebase to be exported as RDF.  Its schema was larger than DBpedia’s and the data tended to be a bit cleaner.

Google generously  decided to donate the data to the Wikidata project, which began migrating Freebase’s data to Wikidata in 2015.  The Freebase data also lives on as part of Google’s Knowledge Graph.  Google recently allowed very limited querying of its knowledge graph and my limited experimenting with it suggests that has Freebase data at its core.


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