This post is coming to you from Naked Jen’s house in Santa Cruz, California. We’re sitting on a couch in their living room. “And drooling over your new laptop,” says Dear Sweet Dave, Jen’s husband (who is fully clothed, at this time.) “As is Jen, at the moment,” he continues.
You’d think after Tim O’Reilly over-hyped Yahoo Pipes he might tone down expectations a bit on the latest half-baked idea to roll through the tech blogosphere. But not this time. Here comes another historic milestone in the history of the Internet, Freebase.
But wait a minute, where’s the beef?
It sounds like a flat-file database that’s open to the public. Not clear if there are rules about who can edit what, how they insure quality. Who does the reverts? How do they keep the spam out? Trolls?
And while they say there’s an API there doesn’t seem to be any information about what the API does and who can use it on what terms. So it’s hard to judge how much an innovation this is for the Internet and how much it is a way to capture UGC in a VC-owned data silo.
Mike Arrington likes it too. Why exactly will Google people be slapping their foreheads saying they could have (or should have) done this. It seems like a secret rehash of GoogleBase, which hasn’t exactly been revolutionary.
Nick Carr notices something about the hype of Freebase that I had missed.
John Markoff wrote the article in today’s NY Times announcing Freebase. It reads like a corporate press release, not even one naysayer, not one qualification, not even a competitor, though there are many. This is the greatest stuff ever, period. Fluff. How that made it through the Times editorial process is a question for another day.
In an earlier piece, on page 1 of the Times, Markoff used the term Web 3.0, to describe almost exactly what Freebase purports to be. So it stands to reason that we’re looking at two points of vaporous hype that will someday be connected, probably by Markoff. Or maybe Tim O’Reilly, seeing the writing on the wall, will concede that Web 2.0 is yesterday’s news, the real exciting stuff is Web 3.0, and btw, look there never was a bubble pop!
I almost put a smiley at the end of the last paragraph; it would be funny if it weren’t so how the hype machine of Silicon Valley works. There’s nothing substantial about any of this, if there were, you’d be able to use the software today and some of the benefits it promises would be visible, today.