"Artificial intelligence guru Danny Hillis has launched an early version of the first major Web 3.0 application. It's called Freebase, and its grandiose epistemological mission is right up there with those of Google and Wikipedia.
The product of Hillis's latest company, Metaweb Technologies, Freebase is a user-generated brain. Like Wikipedia, it allows people to freely add information to it, in the form of text or images or, one assumes, anything else that can be rendered digitally. But it also allows users to add "metadata" about the information – tags that describe what a word or picture is and how it relates to other information.
The addition of rich meta tags in a standardized form is what makes Freebase a next-generation Web application – a manifestation of what Tim Berners-Lee long ago dubbed the Semantic Web and what has recently been rebranded Web 3.0 for popular consumption.
…Freebase is really more about the creation of a community of machines than a community of people. The essence of the Semantic Web is the development of a language through which computers can share meaning and hence operate at a higher, more human level of intelligence. The meta tags are crucial to that machine language. Freebase hopes to harness the (free) labor of a big pool of vounteers to add those tags, which is a labor-intensive chore (and a big hurdle on the path to Web 3.0)."
It's worth checking out the IHT article linked above, A 'more revolutionary' Web. I liked this bit:
"A consequence of an open and diffuse Internet, he noted, is that unexpected outcomes can emerge from unanticipated places.
For instance, some early experiments in highlighting new relationships from existing Web data have come out of Flickr, a photo-sharing site that members categorize themselves, and FOAF, which stands for "friend of a friend," a research project to describe the various links between people.
Both add "meaning" where such context did not exist before, just by changing the underlying programming to reflect links between databases, Shadbolt said."