Yao Ming has a body mass index of 27, which is the same as Cal Ripken and Tom Brady, but less than Dr. Phil whose BMI is 29. All of these are more than Franklin Delano Roosevelt whose BMI was 23.6. These are among the billions and billions of facts collected for future use at Factual. Whether it’s the fertility rate of a country, the ratings of a restaurant, or the insurance preferences of health care professionals, it’s all sitting in Factual’s databases. Behind the scenes, Factual staff are said to be busy at work making lists of the facts and checking them twice or more to verify updates and duplicates. While facts may be all around us, the Factual facts, by virtue of being collected all in one place are thought to be more reliable, useful and easier to analyze. Didn’t someone say everything is connected?
So what to do with such a massive collection of facts? Factual envisions businesses paying for access to these sets of data, which are conveniently called “datasets,” in order to develop apps, create marketing campaigns or perhaps memorize them for trivia challenges. For example, there is a dataset of the meetings of 12,000 support groups in the U.S. A cursory glance at the first ten pages of this dataset shows the first four pages to be overwhelmingly Sex Addicts Anonymous groups, while the following six pages are mostly Gambler Anonymous groups – who would have guessed? Of course, it isn’t always clear what any given business would do with such a dataset but it’s there just waiting for the next innovative mind. Whether it’s a list of endocrinologists, vegan products, water contaminants or the nutritional contents of items at Trader Joes’s it’s already in a convenient format for developers.
- API Strategy Lessons from Factual’s Upgrade of its Mobile/Local APIs(programmableweb.com)