Google acquired Metaweb back on July 16, 2010, which powered Freebase. Freebase is one of the sources of data Google uses to power their Knowledge Graph. Many SEOs were able to manipulate the knowledge graph details by editing Freebase data.
Yesterday Freebase announced on Google+ that they will be shutting their doors and closing down. Before they do so, they will migrate their data and APIs to Wikipedia's Wikidata. Freebase wrote:
So we've decided to help transfer the data in Freebase to Wikidata, and in mid-2015 we’ll wind down the Freebase service as a standalone project. Freebase has also supported developer access to the data, so before we retire it, we’ll launch a new API for entity search powered by Google's Knowledge Graph.
You have to assume that Google will quickly update their knowledge graph API source to feed off the new Wikidata API. Google owns Freebase, so it makes sense they will be one of the first to see the API and hook in.
The bigger concern is how will the data get updated going forward? Will the same volunteers continue their work in the Wikipedia community? Will the knowledge graph get any worse because of it? Will it get better if new controls are in place to reduce SEO input? These are the concerns SEOs have when they hear this news.
Here is the timeline listed by Freebase on the changes:
Before the end of March 2015
- Launch a Wikidata import review tool
- Announce a transition plan for the Freebase Search API & Suggest Widget to a Knowledge Graph-based solution
March 31, 2015
- Freebase as a service will become read-only
- The website will no longer accept edits
- Retire the MQL write API
June 30, 2015
- Retire the Freebase website and APIs
- The last Freebase data dump will remain available, but developers should check out the Wikidata dump
Are you concerned? If so, why?
Forum discussion at Google+.