Freebase apps without cookies

August 9, 2007

Freebase just announced that

Within a week or so we will be removing the registration requirement in order to view Freebase.

Soon all my demo apps will work without requiring a Freebase invite. Cool!


MapIt – a Freebase Google Maps builder (updated)

May 31, 2007

My latest version of MapIt has a better GUI. Less black-magic going on now.

Try it (probably Firefox only for now)

mapit builder

Building a query:
origin of rivers + image



Resulting mashup
showing Freebase rivers on Google Earth

Example maps:

Let me know if you manage to build any interesting maps. Feedback and bug reports very welcome.

Mapit – a Freebase Google Maps builder

May 14, 2007

 Sorry, this program no longer works. I’d love to fix it but I really don’t have time right now.

Mapit is my first attempt at a usable map-builder for Freebase. The goal is to enable ordinary users to build their own Freebase / Google Maps mashups. (Freebase account required – ask me if you need an invite. Tested on Firefox) Mapit screenshot I spent most of the weekend underground so I didn’t have much time to work on the GUI. It would be great to make something like Yahoo Pipes. But even this work-in-progress version of Mapit is pretty powerful. My previous map of Freebase Users can now be generated in 6 mouse clicks. Examples:

I know that there is loads of scope for improvement and bug fixes. Comments very welcome.

 Sorry, this program no longer works. I’d love to fix it but I really don’t have time right now. 

Freebase invites up for grabs

May 9, 2007

Update: Freebase no longer requires invites

Freebase logo

At the time of my BarcampBrussels talk on Freebase I didn’t have any invites to give away. Now I’ve got some. Leave a comment here if you’d like one.

Barcamp Brussels – My Freebase talk

May 5, 2007

BarCamp Brussels was interesting as always. There was a good mixture of technical and non-technical talks and the conversations were very simulating. Many thanks to Peter for all his hard work.

Freebase logo

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.