Follow the Data

A data driven blog

Archive for the tag “cloud-computing”

Data services

There’s been a little hiatus here as I have been traveling. I recently learned that Microsoft has launched Codename “Dallas”, a service for purchasing and managing datasets and web services. It seems they are trying to provide consistent APIs to work with different data from the public and private sectors in a clean way. There’s an introduction here.

This type of online data repository seems to be an idea whose time has arrived – I have previously talked about resources like Infochimps, Datamob and Amazon’s Public Data Sets, and there is also theinfo.org, which I seem to have forgotten to mention. A recent commenter on this blog pointed me to the comprehensive knowledge archive network, which is a “registry of open data and content packages”. Then there are the governmental and municipal data repositories, such as data.gov.

Another interesting service, which may have a slightly different focus, is Factual, described by founder Gil Elbaz as a “platform where anyone can share and mash open data“. Factual basically wants to list facts, and puts the emphasis on data accuracy, so you can express opinions on and discuss the validity of any piece of data. Factual also claims to have “deeper data technology” which allows users to explore the data in a more sophisticated way compared to other services like the Amazon Open Data Sets, for instance.

Companies specializing in helping users make sense out of massive data sets are, of course, popping up as well. I have previously written about Good Data, and now the launch of a new seemingly similar company,  Data Applied, has been announced.  Like Good Data, Data Applied offers affordable licenses for cloud-based and social data analysis, with a free trial package (though Good Data’s free version seems to offer more – a 10 MB data warehouse and 1-5 users vs Data Applied’s file size of <100 kb for a single user; someone correct me if I am wrong). The visualization capabilities of Data Applied do seem very nice. It’s still unclear to me how different the offerings of these two companies are but time will tell.

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Good Data

Good Data seems like an interesting company. Their business idea, if I have understood it correctly, is to provide on-demand business analytics “in the cloud”: that is, to let users host analyze their business data on a flexible pay-for-what-you-use cloud computing platform. An interesting detail is that although the company’s headquarters are in San Francisco, the engineering is done in the Czech Republic. Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, among others, has invested in Good Data. The company has a blog where they elaborate on how their product can help customers.

Update 25/10: Jerome Pineau (see comment section) pointed out that while I had grasped part of the Good Data concept, I had missed the strong focus on collaborative or what Jerome calls “intra-social” aspect of the platform. The “What It Does” page on the company site says, among other things, that

With Good Data, collaboration happens directly around the data, not on a wiki or via email, but inside the analysis space. Comments can be embedded in reports and tied to specific values, even on defined metrics. Tags make reports easy to find, and quickly show which reports are popular. Report revisions show a history of collaboration—allowing you to track who changed what and why, just like a wiki.

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