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Salesforce-for-Marketing Startup Raises $32 Million

Salesforce-for-Marketing Startup Raises $32 Million

Hubspot has just announced a Series D round of funding for their marketing-as-a-service platform. Investors include some very big names like Google, Salesforce and Sequoia, which shows how much interest there is in its service aimed at small businesses. It’s also a big boost for the Boston startup scene, as Hubspot is now one of the fastest growing…

Helping Consumers with Data from Twenty Million Credit Cards

Helping Consumers with Data from Twenty Million Credit Cards

Bundle.com is a personal finance website with a mission to “help US consumers make smarter decisions with their money”. What really makes it stand out is the company’s unique access to detailed, anonymized transaction histories from 20 million Citibank credit cards.

This allows them to build consumer tools in the same vein as Mint, but with a…

Crawl Bank Accounts with the Ghost of Wesabe

Crawl Bank Accounts with the Ghost of Wesabe

The personal finance startup Wesabe may be dead, but its code lives on. Former team member Brian Donovan recently open sourced the framework used to connect with bank websites and download statements in a machine-readable form. This might not sound impressive, but with thousands of banks just in the U.S., all with different website setups, entire…

What Data-Mining Apple, Google and Microsoft’s PR Reveals

What Data-Mining Apple, Google and Microsoft’s PR Reveals

What topics are the big three software giants focused on? Their press releases show what areas of their business they want the media to cover, so I thought analyzing them in bulk might reveal some of their priorities.

I started off by downloading every press release that Apple, Google and Microsoft have released in 2011, and then built word…

How to Find Your Most Important Fans

How to Find Your Most Important Fans

Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, but how do you work out which customers are most important in spreading your message? Services like PeerIndex or Klout help you find experts and influencers in particular communities, but can’t measure what people have actually done for your business. The new Vipli.st service from Awe.sm…

How to Find Your Most Important Fans

How to Find Your Most Important Fans

Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, but how do you work out which customers are most important in spreading your message? Services like PeerIndex or Klout help you find experts and influencers in particular communities, but can’t measure what people have actually done for your business. The new Vipli.st service from Awe.sm […]

The Robots are Watching Us

The Robots are Watching Us

Have you ever felt like your household appliances are watching your every move and conspiring amongst each other? No? Oh well, I guess that’s just me. It’s exactly what European researchers are hoping to enable though, by building a data sharing service called RoboEarth that automated devices can use to share information between themselves.

To…

Be a Neighborhood Hero (and Earn Some Cash) by Sharing Your Driveway

Be a Neighborhood Hero (and Earn Some Cash) by Sharing Your Driveway

Have you ever been stuck circling the block waiting for a parking space to open up? The new ParkCirca space-sharing service might make that a thing of the past. Co-founder and CEO Chadwick Meyer told me how he was fruitlessly hunting for a space when he noticed how many private driveways had no cars in them. Why not let the driveway owners make…

Twitter Sets a Price For Tweets

Twitter Sets a Price For Tweets

Last week at Strata, Gnip released a new set of features for its social-stream processing platform. Called Power Track, the new layer allows customers to set up complex search queries and receive a stream of all the Twitter messages that match the criteria. Unlike existing ways of filtering the firehose, there are no limits on how many keywords or…

Using Public Data to Fight a War

Using Public Data to Fight a War

How does a technology built for apartment-hunting end up being evaluated by the U.S. Army for use in Afghanistan? Cazoodle is using public data sources like Flickr and OpenStreetMap to build detailed guidebooks for American soldiers. Last week at Strata I sat down with company CTO Govind Kabra to find out how they do it.

Its project for the Army…

A Free Visual Programming Language for Big Data

A Free Visual Programming Language for Big Data

Until the last few years, large scale data processing was something only big companies could afford to do. As Hadoop has emerged, it has put the power of Google’s MapReduce approach into the hands of mere mortals. The biggest challenge is that it still requires a fair amount of technical knowledge to set up and […]

A Free Visual Programming Language for Big Data

A Free Visual Programming Language for Big Data

Until the last few years, large scale data processing was something only big companies could afford to do. As Hadoop has emerged, it has put the power of Google’s MapReduce approach into the hands of mere mortals. The biggest challenge is that it still requires a fair amount of technical knowledge to set up and use. Initiatives like Hive and Pig…

Qwerly Hopes to Power Rebel Alliance Against Facebook

Qwerly Hopes to Power Rebel Alliance Against Facebook

The Qwerly API lets developers easily link together users’ various social network accounts. For example, given Tim O’Reilly’s Twitter username, it can reveal his public profiles at other services like Facebook, Flickr and Plancast. Why is this interesting? Bridging the barriers between different social networks weakens the lock-in effect that makes…

Quora Blocks Startup Search Engines

Quora Blocks Startup Search Engines

The popular startup question and answer service Quora only allows the largest search engines to index its site. As Gabe Rivera of Techmeme pointed out yesterday, its robots.txt file explicitly grants Google, Bing, Blekko and other big players access, but excludes everyone else. If large sites had these restrictions back when Google was starting, it…

Robots Battle Over Wine

Robots Battle Over Wine

The collision of the wine websites CellarTracker and Snooth raises some interesting questions over data ownership. Snooth was accused of copying information from CellarTracker’s user reviews, using an automated robot script crawling the site. While most commenters were outraged, it’s not clear that there’s any legal case against Snooth, even if…

Wolfram Alpha’s API is Free, But is it Open?

Wolfram Alpha’s API is Free, But is it Open?

Wolfram Alpha has assembled an impressive collection of information on everything from chemistry to high finance, but until recently external developers could only access it by paying between two and six cents per query. Today the company announced a big change to its pricing plans which gives non-commercial users 2,000 free calls a month, as […]

Wolfram Alpha’s API is Free, But is it Open?

Wolfram Alpha’s API is Free, But is it Open?

Wolfram Alpha has assembled an impressive collection of information on everything from chemistry to high finance, but until recently external developers could only access it by paying between two and six cents per query. Today the company announced a big change to its pricing plans which gives non-commercial users 2,000 free calls a month, as well…

Secrets of BackType’s Data Engineers

Secrets of BackType’s Data Engineers

How do three guys with only seed funding process a hundred million messages a day? I sat down with the BackType team to discover how they built a service relied upon by companies like bit.ly, Hunch and The New York Times.

BackType captures online conversations, everything from tweets to blog comments to checkins and Facebook interactions. Its…

The Secret Life of Robots

The Secret Life of Robots

Despite companies like Google making tens of billions of dollars from Web crawling, the rules governing so-called robots indexing the Web are surprisingly vague. As somebody who ran afoul of Facebook with my own crawler, I’ve taken a keen interest in other sites’ attitudes to external access. There’s some interesting stories buried in the robots.txt […]