made a deal with Google that would allow it to acquire ITA Software, a company that provides airline data to travel search engines, for $700 million with a list of conditions.The US Department of Justice appears to have
One of my favorite websites in the world is now in Google's hands. Built as a side-project by ITA engineers, Needlebase is a point-and-click data extraction tool that recommends merges and allows for data to be visualized in multiple ways including as maps. I am not a technology blogger because I am moved by news that air travelers may have to pay a few hundred dollars more per year. I'm moved by technology that puts formerly inaccessible skills into the hands of everyday people to create beautiful things, like Needlebase. Needlebase is the WordPress or YouTube of data extraction and manipulation and if Google kills it I'm going to be very upset.
Google + ITA: A Summary
A long list of industry players opposed the deal but Google will be required to continue offering data to other search engines for a number of years, at a "reasonable price."
Opponents argue that the move will raise travel prices and stifle innovation. Google says it will not raise prices and that its engineers working with ITA's engineers, instead of just the data they produce, will lead to an increase in innovation in travel technology.
I'm not the only blogger who's been excited about this service. Liz Gannes wrote first about it, saying: "Needlebase, as it's known, is a nifty way to give structure to disorganized and constantly changing information on any topic." If you know Liz you know that is about as excited as she gets about websites. (She's an objective journalist.)
I'm unabashedly excited about Needle, I use it almost every day to do things that I could never have done as quickly or at all without it. Here's some reading on how and why:
Needlebase: Get This DIY Web Analysis Tool Before Google Does
Our initial review of the product.
DIY Data Tool Needlebase Now Available to Everyone
A round-up of some examples of the things I've been able to do with Needlebase.
Corporate Social Strategists on Twitter: Looking at the Numbers
Probably my most complex and valuable use of Needlebase yet.
How to Use Twitter Plus Needlebase to Discover Fabulous Things
I built a list of journalists on Twitter with more than 500 followers and living in the South Eastern US. In minutes. And I recorded a screencast here on how to use the tools involved.
Please Google, don't kill Needlebase. If Web 2.0 was all about enabling anyone to publish content online and if the next stage of the web is all about working with the data from the last wave of publishing tools and from the coming world of connected devices - please let this tool for democratizing working with that data survive and thrive.