"data service" entries

True data liberation with IFTTT and Google Drive

Web services combine to give us our data, and help us use it.

IFTTT action showing Twitter archiving to Evernote

An example IFTTT action archives tweets to Evernote

The web service IFTTT (If this, then that) accesses popular web applications via their APIs, and lets users create new actions based on changes. For instance, actions such as “upload photos to Flickr when I add them to my Dropbox folder”, or “send me email when frost is forecast”.

I had been tempted to classify IFTTT as a merely an interesting toy for playing with social media. Granted, it’s nice that I can archive all my tweets into an Evernote note, but so what? However, IFTTT’s growth in features is showing it to be more than a bauble. The service is becoming an empowering tool that gives users more control over their own data, previously often accessible by programmers alone.

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From smartphones and continuous data comes the social MRI

Dr. Nadav Aharony used phone sensors to explore personal behaviors and community trends.

It’s clear at this point that the smartphone revolution has very little to do with the phone function in these devices. Rather, it’s the unique mix of sensors, always-on connectivity and mass consumer adoption that’s shaping business and culture.

Dr. Nadav Aharony (@nadavaha) tapped into this mix when he was working on a “social MRI” study in MIT’s Media Lab. Aharony, who recently joined us as part of our ongoing foo interview series, described his vision of the social MRI:

“If you think about it, the three things you take with you when you go out of your home are your keys, your wallet and your phone, so our phones are always with us. In aggregate, we can use the phones in many people’s pockets as a virtual imaging chamber. So, one aspect of the social MRI is this virtual imaging chamber that is collecting tens or hundreds of signals at the same time from members of the community.” [Discussed at 1:16]

Aharony’s work focused on 150 participants (about 75 families) that were given phones for 15 months. During that time, more than one million hours of “continuous sensing data” was gathered with the participants’ consent. The data was acquired and scrubbed under MIT’s ethics guidelines, and for extra measure, Aharony included his own data in the dataset.

Collecting the data was just the beginning. Parsing that information and creating experiments based on emerging signals is where the applications of a social MRI became significant.
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OpenCorporates opens up new database of corporate directors and officers

The online corporate transparency data platform is providing more insight for data journalists.

OpenCorporates, which aggregates open data about businesses, has launched a new taxonomy of corporate directors and officers. In this interview, Chris Taggart, the founder of OpenCorporates, shares more details about the data and the business model behind his open data venture.

Data for the public good

From healthcare to finance to emergency response, data holds immense potential to help citizens and government.

The explosion of big data, open data and social data offers new opportunities to address humanity's biggest challenges. The open question is no longer if data can be used for the public good, but how.

Top stories: January 23-27, 2012

Finding the real pirates, Microsoft's plan for Hadoop and big data, and thoughts on a theoretical Amazon store.

This week on O'Reilly: Mike Loukides offered a different take on the piracy debates, Edd Dumbill looked at Microsoft's Hadoop-driven plan for big data, and we learned why Amazon retail stores aren't out of the question.

Strata Week: Cloudera founder has a new data product

Odiago hints at the future of Hadoop-based services, Hortonworks shows off its products, and big data comes to edu material.

Cloudera's founder launches Odiago, a new data startup. Elsewhere, Hortonworks reveals its suite of Hadoop products and services, and Knewton and Pearson bring big data to education content.

BuzzData: Come for the data, stay for the community

A Canadian startup aspires to be the GitHub of datasets.

BuzzData looks to tap the gravitational pull of data, then keep people around through conversation and collaboration.

Inside Google+: The virtuous circle of data and doing right by users

Key points from a Google+ discussion between Tim O'Reilly and Bradley Horowitz.

Data liberation and user experience emerged as core themes during a recent
discussion between Tim O'Reilly and Google+ VP of Product Bradley Horowitz.

T-Mobile challenges churn with data

T-Mobile's architecture helps it put data to use across the business.

Mobile service provider T-Mobile uses a federated architecture and virtual data zones to empower innovations in regional marketing, churn management and customer care.

3 ideas you should steal from HubSpot

HubSpot has found the sweet spot between data, education and customer loyalty.

HubSpot's location (near Boston) and its target market (small businesses) may keep it under the radar of Silicon Valley, but the company's approach to data products and customer empowerment are worthy of attention.