Here is a resource that sells precise data sets to independent software developers and corporations on a sliding scale, depending on the actual usage of information. Contracts with its top customers carry the million dollar tags. Sometimes, it trades data with other entities, to boost its own resources. Funded by a constellation of known Silicon Valley luminaries, Factual boasts thousands of customers – CitySearch, AT&T, Facebook, Newsweek and a host of other businesses seek its services for information-based intelligence.
The story about its evolution can be traced to the ambitions of one Gilad Elbaz who at age 7 wrote: ‘I want to be a rich mathematician & very smart.’ Something which he figured, would allow him ‘to discover things such as time machines, robots etc that can answer back to any question.’ In three decades since, Mr. Elbaz has indeed accomplished some of these goals, as he has created astounding Web-traversing software robots and answered some complex queries for Google.
Factual has seamlessly absorbed and arranged, what its originator describes as ‘many billions of individual facts its researchers have collated’. Underlining the significance of his business ambitions, The New York writer Quentin Hardy mentions:
“In the booming world of Big Data, where once-unimaginably huge amounts of information are scoured for world-changing discoveries, Mr. Elbaz may be the most influential inventor and investor. Besides Factual, he has interests in 30 start-ups, including an incubator in San Francisco dedicated to Big Data.”
Since its launch in 2008, Factual has ffirmly established itself as a knowledge-driven data resource to change the whole dynamics of search. Just sample this:
- Factual has been evolving data on a wide array of topics arranged across verticals like Places, Restaurants, Entertainment, Education, Health, Sports, Music, Movies, Television, Websites, Language, Finance, Games, Politics, and so on.
- Geared to both smaller software developers, and big companies it incorporates available official data, terabytes of key corporate data and information culled on 60 million places in at least 50 countries, each denoted by 17 to 40 attributes.
- The knowledge-driven search and data analytics resource claims to know over 800,000 restaurants and food joints, including their location, ownership details as well as ratings by health boards and diners.
- It contains information on at least half a billion webpages, a comprehensive list of high schools in America apart from data on the offices, specialties, insurance preferences etc of close to 2 million US healthcare professionals.
- Odd facts like listings of thousands of wine grape varietals and of body masses of popular public figures are also there.
Factual is broadly meant for the heart of a consumer-centric business of modern age: utilizing all the cloud-based data/ algorithms to gauge patterns in society and nature, for researchers to analyze and businesses to tap new opportunities. Other entities make use of Factual data for tasks like customer care and product planning. Some uses are related to drawing information such as restaurant locations to mobile maps, or to plan targeted sales campaigns.