Google acquires MetaWeb because it can

Posted by Mark Raby

Behind the scenes of the top search engine must really be boring, as there's a team of technicians that do nothing but work on improving Google search results. And now there's a whole new company in its arsenal to add to that.

In an official blog post, Google announced that it has acquired Metaweb, a company that it describes as maintaining "an open database of things in the world." The online giant believes that with Metaweb's research, it can help better understand the anatomy of search queries and unique requests. "What about [colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000] or [actors over 40 who have won at least one oscar]? These are hard questions, and we’ve acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we’ll be able to provide better answers," wrote Director of Product Management Jack Menzel in the blog post.

Google will also be expanding Metaweb's baby, Freebase. Freebase contains a comprehensive, searchable database of entertainment content like movie information, TV show data, and details about companies and geographic locations.

Despite a very bland appearance, Google's search engine is the subject of constant tweaking and updating. The company has added new features like in-line search filling, suggested results before users even hit the "search" button, and pop-up windows that show a snippet of a page result before users click on it.

Google needs to work even harder though, now that Bing is slowly but surely market share in the search world. Bing's latest update allows users to watch online videos (from Hulu, Youtube, etc), stream music, or play video games that come up in search results - directly from an embedded appearance within the Bing window.

Google currently holds about a 62% share of all Internet searches in the US.