Bringing Big-Data Know-How to the Average Joe

The practice of building only one part of a website and outsourcing the rest is becoming more common: "[Before], if you pieced together a new service with various APIs, you called it a mashup. Today, this is simply what you do when creating an online startup."

big data

data

The ability to process and store huge amounts of data has fueled the success of tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google. Open-source projects and today’s startups are working on ways to bring big-data tools and the ability to use them simply to the rest of the world.

KeenIO is one young startup tapping into current web trends that could change online business by offering application programming interfaces, or APIs, that let you build your own data analysis tools without building a new engine from scratch or analyzing data on the fly each time a question comes up.

“We’re an alternative to building your own software,” Keen’s CEO Kyle Wild told Wired.

These services store all of one’s data and deliver it according to software queries made through simple API calls. Coders can make easy queries, use the data in precise ways and present it to clients in slick “dashboard” formats. From Wired:

You’ll hear a similar pitch from Google, which offers a data analysis service called Big Query, and Amazon, which offers something called Red Shift, but Keen wants to give you more control of your data. Edward Dowling, who runs a small startup called App.io that plugs into Keen for data analysis, says he was drawn to the tool because it could deal with millions upon millions of events at any given moment, but also because it could conform with his own way of doing things. “Other services follow their own forms and paradigms,” he says. “Keen does not.”

The practice of building only one part of a website and outsourcing the rest is becoming more commonplace. “Five or six years ago, if you pieced together a new service with various APIs, you called it a mashup. Today, this is simply what you do when creating an online startup,” said Wired.

In technical speak, these services are APIs, but you can think of them as building blocks. Rather than erecting an entire online business from scratch, you can assemble the basic infrastructure from existing services. Amazon’s cloud provides the processing power. Keen analyzes the data. Imgix processes the images. Twilio offers the voice and text communications. And so on.

To learn more about KeenIO, see Wired‘s full piece here.