When we publicly launched Freebase back in 2007, we thought of it as a "Wikipedia for structured data." So it shouldn't be surprising that we've been closely watching the Wikimedia Foundation's project Wikidata since it launched about two years ago. We believe strongly in a robust community-driven effort to collect and curate structured knowledge about the world, but we now think we can serve that goal best by supporting Wikidata -- they’re growing fast, have an active community, and are better-suited to lead an open collaborative knowledge base.
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.
Loading Freebase into Wikidata as-is wouldn't meet the Wikidata community's guidelines for citation and sourcing of facts -- while a significant portion of the facts in Freebase came from Wikipedia itself, those facts were attributed to Wikipedia and not the actual original non-Wikipedia sources. So we’ll be launching a tool for Wikidata community members to match Freebase assertions to potential citations from either Google Search or our Knowledge Vault, so these individual facts can then be properly loaded to Wikidata.
We believe this is the best first step we can take toward becoming a constructive participant in the Wikidata community, but we’ll look to continually evolve our role to support the goal of a comprehensive open database of common knowledge that anyone can use.
Here are the important dates to know:
Before the end of March 2015
- We’ll launch a Wikidata import review tool
- We’ll 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
- We’ll retire the MQL write API
June 30, 2015
- We’ll retire the Freebase website and APIs
- The last Freebase data dump will remain available, but developers should check out the Wikidata dump
The Knowledge Graph team at Google