Google has snapped up open database company Metaweb, with the search giants hoping to make the web 'richer and more meaningful for everyone'.

Citing the rich snippets and search answer features as examples of how it is trying to simplify search, Google explains that it wants to take things to the next level and is hoping that Metaweb can help.

"We've acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we'll be able to provide better answers," blogged Google.

Freebasing

"In addition to our ideas for search, we're also excited about the possibilities for Freebase, Metaweb's free and open database of over 12 million things, including movies, books, TV shows, celebrities, locations, companies and more.

"Google and Metaweb plan to maintain Freebase as a free and open database for the world. Better yet, we plan to contribute to and further develop Freebase and would be delighted if other web companies use and contribute to the data.

"We believe that by improving Freebase, it will be a tremendous resource to make the web richer for everyone. And to the extent the web becomes a better place, this is good for webmasters and good for users."

The Metaweb team welcomed the news, adding: "We believe that the more we can all work together on cataloging and connecting the "graph of everything," the smarter the web will get."