Tag Archives: data

Data is the new oil

Loved this abstract from a blog by 'media futurist' Gerd Leonard:

Getting too little or bad data — or not understanding it– will literally mean running out of gas in the middle of the desert. Therefore, the mission is to keep it all fueled up. And just like oil, there will be a myriad of issues (hopefully, not wars) that will arise with the responsible and fair practices of drilling, pumping, shipping, refining and dispensing of data.

An excellent metaphor for the crazy world of data!

Google bars data from Facebook as rivalry heats up

So, it seems a walled garden is being erected around Google services (it’s always been there for Facebook). I can’t really see this hurting Facebook very much. The loser is (once again) the user who will no longer have the facility to easily join up address books between networks. I think we can look forward to these two heavyweights continuing to slug it out over the coming months. An interesting spectacle since both are too big to fall.

Amplify’d from www.reuters.com

SAN FRANCISCO

(Reuters) – Google Inc will begin blocking Facebook and other Web services from accessing its users’ information, highlighting an intensifying rivalry between the two Internet giants.

Google will no longer let other services automatically import its users’ email contact data for their own purposes, unless the information flows both ways. It accused Facebook in particular of siphoning up Google contact data, without allowing for the automatic import and export of Facebook users’ information.

Facebook, with more than 500 million users, relies on email services such as Google’s Gmail to help new users find friends already on the network. When a person joins, they are asked to import their Gmail contact list into the social network service. Facebook then tells the user which email contacts are also on the social network.

In a statement, Google said websites such as Facebook “leave users in a data dead end.” Facebook did not immediately provide a comment on Friday.

While Google framed the move as an attempt to protect its users’ ability to retain control of their personal data on the Internet, analysts said the move underscored the battle between Google, the world’s largest search engine, and Facebook, the dominant Internet social network.

“The fundamental power dynamic on the Web today is this emerging conflict between Facebook and Google,” said Gartner analyst Ray Valdes. “Google needs to evolve to become a big player in the social Web and it hasn’t been able to do that.”

“If people do search within Facebook, if they do email within Facebook, if they do instant messaging within Facebook, all of these will chip away at Google’s properties.”

RECIPROCITY

Google said that while it makes it easy for other Web services to automatically import a user’s contact data, Facebook was not reciprocating.

“We have decided to change our approach slightly to reflect the fact that users often aren’t aware that once they have imported their contacts into sites like Facebook, they are effectively trapped,” Google said in an emailed statement.

“We will no longer allow websites to automate the import of users’ Google Contacts (via our API) unless they allow similar export to other sites,” Google said.

Some technology blogs were reporting that Facebook still appeared to be allowing users to import their Google Gmail contacts into Facebook as of mid-day Friday.

A Google spokesman told Reuters that the company had begun enforcing the new rules “gradually.”

Google also stressed that users will still be able to manually download their contacts to their computers in “an open, machine-readable format” which can then be imported into any Web service.

Google has coveted the wealth of information that Facebook’s half-billion users generate and amass. Having access to that data could be especially valuable to Google, whose business model is based on allowing its users to find any information anywhere on the Web.

Read more at www.reuters.com

When linked open data isn’t

Chris Taggart (member of the Local Public Data Panel) identifies the first of what is likely to be a growing number of enterprising organisations that will spring up as ‘the saviours’ to local councils struggling to come to terms with the need to comply with the Gov agenda for more transparency – in this instance, the need to publish financial data. On the one hand, these councils are to be commended on their willingness to make this data available at all, but putting it in the hands of a third party service provider is probably not what Gov had in mind when setting out the policy. Unfortunately, many councils have outsourced their IT and web publishing activities and/or do not have the skills or knowledge in-house to be able to convert back-office financial data into linked open data (LOD) for web publishing. It will be interesting to see whether statutory powers are going to be required in order to ensure that public data is open and free for use by all, or whether ‘proprietary openness’ (yes, an oxymoron) is better than nothing at all. Interesting times!

Amplify’d from blog.okfn.org

When the coalition announced that councils would have to publish all spending over £500 by January next year, there’s been a palpable excitement in the open data and transparency community at the thought of what could be done with it (not least understanding and improving the balance of councils’ relationships with suppliers).

Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government Eric Pickles followed this up with a letter to councils saying, “I don’t expect everyone to do it right first time, but I do expect everyone to do it.” Great. Raw Data Now, in the words of Tim-Berners Lee.

Now, however, with barely the ink dry, the reality is looking not just a bit messy, a bit of a first attempt (which would be fine and understandable given the timescale), but Not Open At All.

One thing we weren’t explicit in that first draft – because we took it for granted – was that the data had to be open, and free for reuse by all. Equality of access by all is essential.

So I’ve been watching the activities of Spikes Cavell’s SpotlightOnSpend with some wariness and now those fears seem to have been borne out, as the company seems to set out not to consume the open data that councils are publishing, but to control this data.

See more at blog.okfn.org