Announcements

Infochimps Acquires Keepstream

infochimpsheartskeepstream Infochimps Acquires Keepstream

We are excited to announce that Keepstream, social media curation and analytics company, will be joining the Infochimps family!  Jim England, Huston Hoburg, and myself, Tim Gasper are excited to now be Chimps. Together we’ll continue to develop exciting new data products and rock the world of Big Data.

With this announcement, we have two pieces of product news. Firstly, the Keepstream hand-curation product will slowly close down. The website will be set to “read-only mode” on September 30th. New user registration will be turned off and existing users will no longer be able to create or edit their collections. However, all collections will still be hosted online and be accessible at keepstream.com for viewing. So don’t worry, those links you’ve shared will still work just fine. We will be exploring options for exporting collections or integrating with similar curation services. If you’d be interested in something like this, leave me a note at tim[at]keepstream[dot]com.

Secondly, Keepstream Reports, located at http://reports.keepstream.com, will continue forward. It has the potential to be both a more automated way to archive social media as well as a way to create beautiful, actionable social media analytics reports. It’s currently in private beta.

We are really excited about we can accomplish together, you can look forward to many exciting developments soon to come!  Also, Jim and I will be attending TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco next week.  If you’ll be there too, we’d love to meet you.  Just look for us in our brand new Infochimps shirts or shoot us a tweet at @JimEngland or @TimGasper.

Making a World of Data More Fun With the Geo API

We’ve been working on a brand new API that will rock your world.  It’s our Geo API, which allows developers to access disparate geo-related data sources through one API with a unified schema.  It’s pretty sweet, if we do say so ourselves.

geo api chart Making a World of Data More Fun With the Geo APIOur geo data comes from open sources like Geonames, the National Climatic Data Center, and the American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau as well as licensed sources like Locationary and Foursquare. Also, because we recognized that geo data need not be constrained by the traditional notions of geo data, we’ve also included geo-located Wikipedia articles amongst the sources. In fact, any data set that can be tied to a location can ultimately be added to the Infochimps Geo API. We will continue to add additional data sources in the near future and are totally happy to hear your suggestions if you’ve got ‘em!

With this API, we’ve tried to address some of the biggest developer pain points in working with geo data:

  1. Difficulty in integrating several different APIs into one unified app
  2. Lack of ability to display all results when zoomed out to a large radius
  3. Limitation of only being able to use lat/long

We’ve addressed each of the above issues with our new Geo API using the Infochimps Simple Schema, Summarizer and multiple Geolocator options.

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Chimps in Chicago Recap

monkey holding baseball bat 150x150 Chimps in Chicago RecapHappy Friday, everyone! Turns out that while Chimps in Chicago developer contest did garner some interesting entries, none of our entrants were from Chicago.  And in an unfortunate coincidence, our CEO, Nick Ducoff who was going to treat the winner to the Cubs vs. Astros game and all the beer and peanuts they could handle, had his flight get cancelled last minute this morning.

Since Nick won’t be able to make the game, we’re posting a real live link to the actual tickets here.  If you’re in Chicago and reading this message and want to go to the game, print these babies out and be the first at the ballpark today! :)

Everyone who entered will still be receiving a care package of chimpy swag to enjoy wherever they may be geographically.  We have plans abrewin’ for a hackday here in Austin in early September tied to ATX Startup Week, so stay tuned about that.

In the meanwhile, if you have ideas for how we can make our next online hackathon even better – we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Twilio/Infochimps Developer Contest Winner

Roger Photo 150x150 Twilio/Infochimps Developer Contest WinnerLast week’s developer contest with our friends at Twilio yielded a diverse set of entries ranging from an app that reports your Twitter influence to a tool to help you look up valid words for Scrabble.  With a theme as general as simply “data”, and the goal was to see what interesting applications our developer communities could make using both Twilio’s API and Infochimps data sets and data APIs.  Ultimately, we agreed that Roger Pincombe’s entry, Social Contact, made the best use of all the data available through us.  Roger is a previous Twilio contest winner, so he’s no stranger to building fly apps on the fly.

To use Social Contact, all you have to do is send a person’s Twitter username as a text to (203) 403-NAME (6263). You’ll get back an e-mail containing a vCard with as much information as publicly available, including full name, company and title, email (occasionally), phone number (occasionally), home page url, home location (generally city-level), description, summary, Klout, photo, Facebook profile link, and other social profile pages.

iOS Jeff Lawson Twilio 225x300 Twilio/Infochimps Developer Contest WinnerHere’s what Roger had to say about his app:

“This contest allowed me to solve a problem I’ve been running into a lot recently as a fledgling entrepreneur, remembering all the amazing people I meet on a daily basis. I have a horrible memory, and I’m especially bad with names, so sometimes meeting people again can be kind of awkward. What does he do again? What was her name? With 203-403-NAME, all I have to do is text someone’s twitter username, and I instantly get back a name, photo, job, and sometimes other contact info, ready to be added to my phone’s address book for future reference. Oh, and I have a great domain name, http://contacts.io, that I’ve been wanting to find a use for, so this fits nicely. I’ve got a web interface in the works, which should be ready to go in less than a week.

Social Contest uses the Infochimps Social Identity Mapping API, as well as other sources to boost the robustness of the information returned to the user.  Roger notes that the Google Social Graph API was also extremely useful.  His code is in C#, running on ASP.NET 4.0.

If you’d like to play around with Social Contact, just send a text to (203) 403-6263 with a Twitter username.

Honorable Mention

odom headshot 150x150 Twilio/Infochimps Developer Contest WinnerThere could only be one winner, but we also wanted to recognize Textable, made by Steve Odom (full disclosure: Steve is an Infochimps contractor, but that doesn’t make his app any less awesome and he didn’t get any special help from us!). Using a variety of the Infochimps data sets, Steve created an SMS application that helps people find important nearby locations in unfamiliar cities.

Say you land in Austin and need to find WiFi quickly. Simply text “wifi AUS” to (512) 782-2513 and you’ll get back a list of nearby places that offer wifi. Text “walgreens 78702″ and you’ll get back nearby Walgreens locations. In general you can text wifi, library, walgreens, and help (Steve is working on adding walmart, atm, and UFOs) followed by a zip code or three-letter airport code. Give it a whirl!

Your Turn

Want to get involved?  We’re cooking up ideas for future developer contests.  In the meanwhile, Twilio holds developer contests regularly and you can get all the details here.  You can also build on any of our data sets and APIs anytime anywhere.  Sign up for an API key today.

Introducing… The App Gallery

Did you stumble on our site and say to yourself “Okay, so you have all this data, but what can I do with it?”  Whether you’re a data nerd developer looking to see what others have built on our datasets and APIs or just a curious chimp looking for how to make sense of it – we’ve got the right place for you.

Introducing… The App Gallery.

appgallery Introducing... The App Gallery

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New Developer Contest: Twilio + Infochimps

It’s a special day today for many of our readers. In addition to celebrating America’s Independence day, we want to celebrate data. I know that sounds crazy, but put Will Smith on mute for a minute and give us a chance.

Not too long ago, we didn’t have access to data. It existed, but it wasn’t really available. It was either shared on a one-off basis, or hidden somewhere in the deep corners of the Internet. Now,  you can have access to everything from all the reported UFO sightings to all the free WiFi spots in the nation.

So for this special day, we’re running a special contest with our friends at Twilio. What interesting applications could you create with our data? Perhaps a phone-powered UFO Mad Libs game? Or an SMS rolodex of social media profiles?  Be creative and show us what you could do!

It wouldn’t be a special contest, if there wasn’t a special prize. The winner of this developer contest will receive:

  • $100 in Twilio credit
  • $100 in Infochimps credit
  • A collection of swag from Twilio and Infochimps
  • All four books from the pioneer of data visualization, Edward Tufte

courses bookcovers New Developer Contest: Twilio + Infochimps

Entries must be submitted by 11:59pm PT on Sunday July 10th. Entries can be submitted here.

How To Get Involved

Entries to the contest can be submitted here.

Twilio runs weekly developer contests.  Check out more of them here.

If you need any help or want to bounce ideas off Twilio developers, join them on their forums or drop a note to help@twilio.com.  Want to reach a chimp?  Try connecting with us over UserVoice or send us some bananas at help@infochimps.com.

Infochimps Launches Even More API Calls

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:
http://www.infochimps.com/awesomeapis

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)infochimps.com 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.

Infochimps Expands Advisor Presence Coast to Coast

It doesn’t matter if you are talking about Google, Facebook, Amazon, or the average startup working out of someone’s living room. The difference between the companies that remain merely great ideas and the ones that make significant impacts on society can be made with the addition of wise advisors and investors.

That’s why we’re excited to announce the addition of MFI Capital, Anduin Ventures and ff Asset Management to our rock star roster of investors. Tom Meredith from MFI Capital and Joe Lonsdale from Anduin Ventures will be advising the company, and John Frankel from ff Asset Management will be joining our board of directors.

Tom Meredith is a pillar of the Austin business community, having served as CFO of Dell and Motorola, and currently serving on the board of directors of Bazaarvoice, Motorola and others. Tom has a long and successful track record of shepherding technology companies through global growth.

Joe Lonsdale co-founded Palantir, one of the most advanced data analytics companies in the world. Joe is an active angel investor and philanthropist and is currently CEO of Addepar. The addition of Anduin Ventures, along with investor Draper Associates, give us a toehold in Silicon Valley.

John Frankel, a 20-year Goldman Sachs veteran based in NYC, currently serves on the board of directors of Infochimps, Klout and others. We’re thrilled to be joining his portfolio which includes Hashable, Livefyre, Parse.ly and Klout. John has a strong grasp of what our mission is here at Infochimps. He states, “The move from analogue to digital is creating vast amounts of accessible data, albeit in confusing formats and often hard to find. If only there was a solution that structured the world’s data, democratized access to it, and made shopping for it as simple as using Amazon. Oh wait, just a minute, there is! That is why we are excited to be part of the Infochimps story.”

We couldn’t be more excited about where we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. Tom, Joe and John, along with our lead investors DFJ Mercury, an incredible team, will help us continue to provide you with the most data in one place on the web!

Introducing the Infochimps Query API

Infochimps is pleased to announce the release of our Query API in public beta today. As part of our ongoing effort to democratize access to structured data, the Infochimps Query API offers several calls that allow you to analyze a prodigious amount of Twitter data dating back to 2006. Our current operational calls include the following:

Trstrank

Trstrank uses an algorithm similar to Google Page Rank to generate a numerical rank that indicates the amount of influence a particular user has. This is a much more robust way to determine a Twiter user’s influence than by their number of followers alone.

Wordbag

Wordbag enables you to discover what a specific Twitter user finds interesting. After entering the handle of a specific Twitter user, Wordbag generates a list of words unique to that Twitter user.

Influencer Metrics

Influencer Metrics measures the number retweets, mentions, and @replies that a specific Twitter user has. Retweets and mentions can indicate the value the Twitter community gives to the tweets of a specific user. Coupling Trstrank with Influencer Metrics provides a particularly powerful way to gauge the influence of a Twitter user.

The potential applications of our API are limited only by the imagination. We hope market researchers, brazen self-promoters, statisticians, sociologists, cultural anthropologists, linguists, and all the curious Georges out there will find it as compelling as we do.

Looking to the future, our development team will be constantly polishing and updating the API. Follow @infochimps on Twitter for announcements. We received many requests on our private beta for more frequent refreshments of our data and fuller coverage.  Our next update will do just that. We have additional API calls percolating, including one that will allow you to discover close-knit interactions between Twitter users and see the level of interaction between them.

For features and pricing, including our totally free package, the Baboon, click here.

Partner with us

2009 was a great year for us.  We made lots of progress on the website (with a long way to go), but we were especially excited for all the great contacts we made with other developers and companies interested in data.  We strongly encourage all of our followers (you!) to get in touch with us to talk about your expertise and data needs.

We will create a page on the site soon which lists our network of data mechanics, data tools, and solution providers.  One of the issues with our site is that many of the datasets can’t be used by everybody – some are too large for Excel and average tools, and others require specialized skills in order to use.  Our TAKS and Twitter datasets are just some examples of datasets that can be really powerful for a lot of businesses only after an expert has had the chance to analyze them.

Here are a few of the great companies who have worked with us so far:

QVApps: QVApps is a marketplace for QlikView applications.  QlikView is a business intelligence software that supports third party applications.  Having trouble understanding your AWS reports?  QVApps has a free AWS report analyzer that we’ve found useful.

UPDATE: Check out QVApps’ slideshow on some of the data from our Twitter Census! See below for the imbedded slideshow.

Data Applied: Data Applied’s application is truly magic.  Their software is putting the power of machine learning into the world’s hands.  Techniques and algorithms that people wrote Phd. thesis’s on 20 years ago are here at the click of a mouse.  Try them out with a free account.

DataMiningTools.net: A startup based in India, DataMiningTools.net is doing a wonderful job working to educate the masses on data mining tools and resources.  Find tutorials on clustering analysis, R, Matlab – you name it.  Check out videos on Data Applied and your very own Infochimps!

If you are a Data Mechanic, another data company, or just interested in being listed as a solutions provider, please get in touch with me at joe@infochimps.org.  Likewise, if you’re a Ruby/Rails developer, we’re hiring!