Data has become a very coveted item. There is so much of it, but it is so hard to obtain. It is easier to get now than it ever was before with offerings such as Amazon's Clusters, but it is especially difficult for startups with small budgets.
Gil Elbaz, the CEO and founder of Factual, is trying to raise awareness about this issue and is also working to build a platform to simplify the process. On a side note, the name Elbaz might sound familiar to you since his former company Applied Semantics was sold to Google and later turned into Google AdSense.
He told us that data needed to be accessible for further development, which is what Factual is trying to do.
"One of the things we're working is, 'how do we build a platform to make data simply accessible to the developers, so they can do all sorts of cool things, so they can innovate, [and] they can build apps on top of data mashups?'" he said.
Elbaz is also advocating an open data model with his efforts because not only does it make data more accessible, but it also reduces costs. Although a lot of companies are doing better about opening up their APIs, the terms of service can often be hard to understand and can take a long time to interpret. For this reason, Elbaz believes these processes should be simplified.
"We want the world and consumers to enjoy good data," he said.
Despite the challenges, he pointed out that now was still a very exciting time for developers with all the social sites and innovations that have emerged in recent years. He told us that there are "better than ever opportunities" to build new services on top of the current offerings.
Elbaz has even proposed an "iTunes for data" model that would allow developers to get a single record or single usage of data, which is similar to getting a single song from iTunes. He thinks this would be effective since most developers only need a specific area and not a large amount that they would have to sort through.