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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Factual: The Future of Data is Here

Imagine a group of people who have made their sole purpose of life to identify, validate and where required re-validate every fact in the world and bring all those facts together under a single roof WOLA you have FACTUAL.
A company founded by Gilad Elbaz plans to validate every fact in this world and make it available to anyone who is ready to pay for that information
Gilad Elbaz – Founder of Factual:
FACTUAL was founded by Gilad Elbaz who was born in Washington D.C and grew up in Ohio, Texas and Florida. His father was born in Morocco and grew up in Israel.
Mr. Elbaz majored in Applied Sciences and economics from Caltech. He worked at IBM, Microunity (A small semi conductor startup) and then he went ahead to start his own business with $10,000 loan that his father gave him. An investment Mr. Elbaz tripled in 18 months. A company known as Applied Semantics which was later bought by Google and became the basis of their world renowned Ad-Sense system which brings Google close to $10 billion in revenue annually.
Mr. Elbaz is one of the most influential inventors and investor of our time besides FACTUAL, he has interests in 30 start-ups, including an incubator in San Francisco dedicated to Big Data and while doing all this Mr. Elbaz became a millionaire several hundred times over
What is Factual?
Factual’s plan is to build the world’s chief reference point for thousands of interconnected supercomputing clouds. The digital world is expected to hold a collective 2.7 zettabytes of data by year-end, an amount roughly equivalent to 700 billion DVDs. Factual, which now has 50 employees, could prove immensely valuable as this world grows and these databases begin to interact.
Geared to both big companies and smaller software developers, it includes available government data, terabytes of corporate data and information on 60 million places in 50 countries, each described by 17 to 40 attributes. Factual knows more than 800,000 restaurants in 30 different ways, including location, ownership and ratings by diners and health boards. It also contains information on half a billion Web pages, a list of America’s high schools and data on the offices, specialties and insurance preferences of 1.8 million United States health care professionals.
500 terabytes of storage is kept near Factual’s headquarters. That’s about twice the amount needed to hold the entire Library of Congress. Factual has more data stored inside Amazon’s giant cloud of computers. FACTUAL’s statisticians have cleaned and corrected data to account for things like how different health departments score sanitation, whether the term “middle school” means two years or three in a particular town, and whether there were revisions between an original piece of data and its duplicate.
What is the use of FACTUAL?
Some current uses are for adding information like restaurant locations to cell phone maps, or for planning sales campaigns. But more broadly, Factual is meant for the heart of a great business: using all the cloud-based data and algorithms to find patterns in nature and society, for scientists to observe and businesses to exploit.
Mr. Elbaz believes that data has always been seen as just a side effect in computing, something you look up while you are doing work. FACTUAL is changing that as it will let users see data as a whole separate layer that everyone is going to have to tap into, data that is required to solve problems but you might not have or you might have the data but it might not be reliable. FACTUAL will punch those gaps and provide you with complete holistic data.
A restaurant chain, for example, might use Factual to figure out whether a new location is near the competition, and how the locals have talked about the place on Yelp, the social ratings site. Checking for gas stations near the restaurant can indicate how many cars come off the highway. The chain can also employ Factual to see where it is mentioned on the Web, or to correct what other people are saying about it.
How Factual Plans to Make Money?
FACTUAL sells data to corporations and independent software developers based on how much the information is used. Small data feeds for things like prototypes are free; contracts with its biggest customers run into millions of dollars.
Sometimes, Factual trades data with other companies, building its resources. Some of the regular clients of FACTUAL are Facebook, CitySearch, and AT&T who use FACTUAL for information about places. Newsweek used the database to help rank America’s greenest companies recently.
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