You may recall that just a few weeks back, in commenting on Google's acquisition of ITA, the airline flight data powerhouse, I suggested that "... the world is now starting to realize what data publishers have always known: for many types of searches, fielded, parametric search is much more productive than full-text searching. Google seems to be tiring of trying to develop programs to synthesize structure where none exists."
Well little more than a week after that, Google announces still another acquisition, this time of a company calledMetaweb. Metaweb's claim to fame is operating a "database of things in the world." That's pretty fluffy, but it appears Metawab's database included structured information on millions of movies, books, celebrities, companies and more. In short, Metaweb could be construed as a database platform to allow Google to quickly move into a lot more vertical markets.
If you're dubious about this, consider this quote from the official Google blog:
"But what about [answering questions such as] 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."
This sure leaves the impression Google is rapidly gaining a new appreciation for structured data and parametric search, and that it is shifting to a buy over build strategy in the interest of speed.
Answers as to where this acquisition takes Google won't be apparent for a while, but this is one we all need to monitor.