Jun 11, 2008

The Velocity of Data

While eating Chicken Adobo at Cendrillion every other day for the past 6 months, we talk constantly about the value of data - how can an application or a technology create value to an existing or new group of users through the creative aggregation, manipulation or structuring of data.

One of the favorite theoretical examples we use is the ability of an application to add structure to unstructured data. And, in particular, in ways that add value to end-users, publishers or advertisers, three specific groups we seem to care about at betaworks. We seem to be attracted to those examples, but in any event this can get pretty heady and theoretical and wonky.

And then sometimes the theoretical turns specific in a way that validates all the lunchtime chattering. A few months ago Summize turned their search application toward Twitter - in a way Twitter is the very definition of a mass of data -- conversational, casual, and totally unstructured. By adding search to that mass of data - and including including things such as trending analysis and other ways to search - by user, geography, sentiment, places and dates, for example, the unwashed mass of Twitter info becomes . . . structured data. Today I found out about Plurk and that Firefox RC3 was released, to name just two minor and immaterial examples from the trending topics.

So maybe this is an example of where adding structure creates new ways of even thinking about a data set. Or, much more broadly, where adding structure can take an application and make it into a platform.

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