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So Metaweb is behind Freebase ... interesting, interesting.
Not having invented it himself, Dave Winer summarizes: "It seems like a secret rehash of Google Base, which hasn't exactly been revolutionary."
If you happen to disagree wrt/ the general noteworthiness of such systems, you could certainly do worse than to have a look at Structured Wikis like Gobi or System One or their close relatives, [create Semantic Wiki]s like Semantic MediaWiki.
And yes, reading Tim O'Reilly's enthusiastic prose today is slightly painful.
As an aside, I don't think the "Let's build a DataWikipedia operated by a private company" approach makes any sense; extracting structured data from Wikipedia where it exists (and heck, there exists a lot already!) is a much more interesting one.
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