Search engines are about algorithms w/o structure, while databases are about structure w/o algorithms

NYT today has an interesting article about freebase (no, nothing about cocaine here) a forthcoming sematic web approach.

On the Web, there are few rules governing how information should be organized. But in the Metaweb database, to be named Freebase, information will be structured to make it possible for software programs to discern relationships and even meaning.
For example, an entry for California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would be entered as a topic that would include a variety of attributes or “views” describing him as an actor, athlete and politician — listing them in a highly structured way in the database.
That would make it possible for programmers and Web developers to write programs allowing Internet users to pose queries that might produce a simple, useful answer rather than a long list of documents.

Valleywag – the famous tech gossip – also has something about semantic webs.