Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Swivel: a YouTube for Data

Swivel will soon offer a kind of functionality that will revolutionize the usage of data on websites. The kind of data comparison they offer in a 'YouTube'-fashion is currently only possible using portal tools with elaborate integration technology combined with business intelligence tooling to be able to compare data and derive conclusions. I can't wait to try it! TechCrunch announced it today:

Swivel co-founders Dmitry Dimov and Brian Mulloy start off by describing their company as “YouTube for Data.” That’s a good start for someone trying to understand it, because the site allows users to upload data - any data - and display it to other users visually. The number of page views your website generates. Or a stock price over time. Weather data. Commodity prices. The number of Bald Eagles in Washington state. Whatever. Uploaded data can be rated, commented and bookmarked by other users, helping to sort the interesting (and accurate) wheat from the chaff. And graphs of data can be embedded into websites. So it is in fact a bit like a YouTube for Data.
But then the real fun begins. You and other users can then compare that data to other data sets to find possible correlation (or lack thereof). Compare gas prices to presidential approval ratings or UFO sightings to iPod sales. Track your page views against weather reports in Silicon Valley. See if something interesting occurs. And better yet, Swivel will be automatically comparing your data to other data sets in the background, suggesting possible correlations to you that you may never have noticed.
Swivel is putting significant computing power behind the scenes to run the data analysis. “We use farms of powerful computers and algorithms at the Swivel data centers to transform a lonely grid of numbers and letters into hundreds - sometimes thousands - of graphs that can be explored and compared with any other public data in Swivel.”
Not all data will be public. The companies business model is to provide the service for free for public data, and charge a fee for data that is kept private. Private data can still be compared by the owner to public data sets. Look for Swivel to launch later this week after a year of quiet development. The company is based in San Francisco and is part of Minor Ventures.

1 comment:

  1. Timo,

    Thanks for the post. Can't wait to have you become a Swiveler.

    Brian Mulloy
    CEO & Cofounder