After playing around with Freebase for a few days I’m convinced this could be big. So I thought it would make a great BarCamp talk. There was indeed a lot of interest, many developers get the idea that Freebase could be an amazing place to put any public data that you need maintained for your project.
Typical questions people asked about Freebase:
- How can a database work if anybody can edit the types? – you can only create and edit types in your own namespace. If they become popular then they can be promoted to the main namespace
- What mechanisms are in place for resolving the inevitable edit wars? – Right now domain administrators have final control, I imagine that with time as the community grows, a consensus will form about policies (like in the Wikipedia)
- How many users are there? – I guess around 2000 right now.
- Does the API support anything other than JSON? – No, but it certainly could. (And JSON is so easy to work with)
- Where is Freebase coming out of Alpha? – No idea
- Why isn’t the General Overview Demo video on their public site? – No idea, I think it’s a very good intro to Freebase, a screencast works so much better than text.
- What is their business model? – The data is licensed Creative Commons Attribution so anybody can use it even commercially for free. However the Database software (by Metaweb) isn’t open source. I imagine that Freebase will be a kick-ass demo of the Metaweb software which might convince many companies to dump their inflexible nasty-UI database software and start using Metaweb’s.
And most common of all:
- Can I get an invite for Freebase? – add a comment to this blog and I’ll send you one as soon as I get some.