Posts Tagged ‘infochimps’

Infochimps Launches Even More API Calls

13 Mar

Right now, big data is restricted to 1.) the companies that can afford Oracle, and 2.) the companies that can leverage Hadoop and Cassandra, HBase or other NoSQL alternatives. These tools are robust and will always be necessary. They also take considerable amounts of time and knowledge to deploy.

Our mission at Infochimps is to democratize the world’s access to data. The best way to do this is to host useful data in one place so that people can share it. By collectively offsetting the hosting costs, a lot of people can access useful information without the pains of scraping and hosting it.

We have launched more data API calls on our website and intend to launch hundreds more in the next few weeks. Our data API allows you to query databases like our Twitter conversations database, which is over half a terabyte in size. This is not something you can comfortably do with MySQL, and we are giving you access to it for free. Using your Infochimps API key, you can access this data within seconds. I don’t even have MySQL installed on my computer and our data team has given me the power to find and understand data that only “big data” companies have the resources to access. It is truly inspiring.

Here are just a few of the types of data you can query with no prior knowledge of non-relational databases:
* Twitter People Search: Tired of poking around on Twitter forever just to find cool people to follow? Think of a subject you like and query this data set for it. It helps you find like-minded people on Twitter.
* The 100 million word British National Corpus: a representative sample of spoken and written British English in the late 20th century. This is incredibly useful for linguistics and language processing.
* Qwerly: Query a person’s social media handle and find all of their corresponding social media presences online. It helps you get a stronger sense of who a person is.
* IP to Demographic: Be smarter about the people who visit your website. Find the demographics of your visitors based on their IP addresses.
* Wikipedia Articles Abstract Search: Look up a term in Wikipedia and get general descriptions that contain that word. This helps people or machines instantly understand something.

We are still in beta with our new API calls, but you take a look at some of them yourself. We have bookmarked them with the tag “AwesomeAPIs”. They are here:

It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever written a MySQL query in your life. Find a data set you like and query it using our new API Explorer located on each data set that is accessible via our API. You’ll think it’s cool. We promise.

We are still in beta, so feel free to email me direct at michelle(at) should you have any questions or issues. Oh, and sign up for an API key. This will put you in the loop for when we launch more.


Interesting Article on Factual (With Nod to Infochimps)

04 Feb

Factual is very ambitious and we share their desire to “liberate the world’s data”. That being said, they are building an open-source database and we are building a frictionless data marketplace. These are two different things, and don’t preclude us from working together towards our shared desire. If we are successful in disrupting the $100 billion data services market, maybe the first sentence in the article below will some day contain names like Jacob Perkins, Joe Kelly, Dhruv Bansal, Flip Kromer, Hollyann Wood, Jesse Crouch, Kurt Bollacker, Michelle Greer, Dennis Yang, Chris Howe, Adam Seever, or heck, maybe even Nick Ducoff.

Read more about Factual at Wall Street Journal’s website.


Data Visualization Prevents Curation Bias in Social Media

19 Jan

A lot of social media analysts are predicting that curation will help solve the issue of social media overload. Curation has been touted as “the chosen” social media buzzword du jour and the new form of search that will prove more useful than Google’s spammed result pages. Rather than paying attention to just anyone and everyone, we will defer to the nine percent of people who actively search for content, and  listen to them on networks like Twitter or Quora.

How does this paint a very different perception of reality? After all, we will be listening to very select sources and filtering out the inconvenient users of social media who may just so happen to disagree with us. We then listen to these same sources over and over. What happens when we happen to encounter someone who either contradicts our life paradigm or is simply too unfamiliar with our priorities to even make conversation?

Visualizing social media data allows us to make sense of massive amounts of raw data in a very clear way. Rather than relying on someone to sift through the noise to find the useful nuggets of information, data visualization gives us a holistic view so that we can make sense of a lot information within seconds.  It also prevents us from shielding our eyes to the inconvenient truths provided by those who just so happen to be outside our social streams.

Rio Akasaka, a first year Master’s student in Human Computer Interaction at Stanford and Infochimps user, created a good use case of how data visualization can help us make sense of what occurs via social media. Rio first downloaded an Infochimps data set of tweets pertaining to the Haiti earthquake that occurred a year ago. Using the Google Maps API, he plotted these tweets on a map to show when they occurred are where they came from.

You can actually see this data visualization in action here and learn more about how Rio created it here.

How would it alter someone’s perception to see only curated stories about the Haiti earthquake or the aftermath of the Gabriel Gifford shooting versus a bird’s eye version Rio’s visualization provides?