Freebase API: Topics, Universal Search and Other Structured Data for Your Apps

ProgrammableWeb recently reported about the launch of the new YouTube Data API Version 3.0 (experimental) which includes a New Topics API and Universal Search feature powered by Freebase. This post provides an overview of the Freebase API which allows the YouTube Data API to perform search queries using Freebase IDs instead of keywords.


Image Credit: Freebase

What is Freebase?

Freebase is a graph database that contains a huge repository of structured data. At this time, the Freebase repository includes approximately 20 million Topics or Entities, each are assigned their own unique ID. Freebase data is licensed as Creative Commons and many topics are covered including Music, People, Business, Computers, Internet and more.

The Freebase API

The Freebase API consists of a set of HTTP APIs that allow access to Freebase data and works with standard Google API Client Libraries. At the time of this writing, Google API Client Libraries include Go, Java, JavaScript, .NET, Objective C, PHP, Python and Ruby.

Many of the APIs are read-only web services and do not require Authentication for API calls. The complete list of read-only Freebase APIs is available in the API documentation and includes:

  • Search Service -- Find entities by keyword search.
  • Topic API -- Get a summary of all the information for an entity.
  • Text Service -- Get short textual descriptions for entities.
  • Image Service -- Get representative thumbnail images for entities.

The Freebase repository can be queried for keywords, structured data, text and images. Data is returned by the Freebase API in JSON / JSONP format.

There is a Freebase API Console available via Apigee Resources and Platform news and updates can be found on the Freebase Google+ Page.

Be sure to read the next API article: What Not To Wear: Make The Right Choice With Dress Code Finder's API