Facing the Big Data Challenge - Getting Some

Gil Elbaz (Factual)
Product 2009
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 3 ratings)

When many of us hear “Big Data,” we think about the marvelous new toolsets to process it at scale. That’s great if you are one of the “Haves.” But what about the “Have Nots”? Such as the young company looking to license, curate, crawl, improve, aggregate, etc. This company is interested in guaranteed, simplified access to trusted data at an affordable price.

But it’s not just the young company. With some exceptions, I’d argue everyone is a “Have Not.” In today’s environment of accelerating consumer expectations, anyone building an app or service must continuously look for data which adds value to the end-user. In other words, they must look for access to good, structured data at reasonable terms.

The current landscape and challenges for someone looking for data are:

  • Hard to find the ideal right vendor
  • Often, data is not conveniently structured, adding to the cost – that is, if it’s even usable at all
  • Challenges around determining quality of data
  • Licensed data often quite static

Several companies, Factual being one, have been tackling these big problems, attempting to build services and components that will serve “the Have Nots.” Meanwhile, the walls between data silos are crumbling – open government data, API platforms, etc. – creating greater opportunities, as well as challenges, in this new data environment.

In my talk, I’d like to:

  • discuss the current environment and the critical need for developers to find access to good, accurate, and affordable data
  • explore the challenge of finding and integrating good data, and the tools and techniques for maintaining it
  • discuss new algorithmic approaches to handing data, such as rules-based and machine-learned data structuring (i.e., the ability to structure data without needing a human to do it), and de-duplication algorithms for cleaning and improving data
  • discuss the opportunities and challenges of enhancing data through crowdsourcing (the wisdom and enthusiasm of crowds, which we’ve seen with such projects like Open Street Maps), as well as through other open data models

My goal with this talk will be to inform the Web 2.0 audience of the current state of things, the challenges and possibilities ahead, and the efforts many of us are currently engaged in to help the “Have Nots” – at least when it comes to data – join the ranks of the “Haves.”

Photo of Gil Elbaz

Gil Elbaz


Gil Elbaz is the founder of Factual, a new information-sharing startup. He is also the co-founder of Applied Semantics (ASI), a new language that helped greate Google’s Adsense.

ASI helped to define and build new addressable markets with its AdSense platform and other contextual advertising products. The company formed important partnerships with key players in both internet and content spaces such as Overture (now Yahoo), Verisign, and USA Today, effectively paving the way for markets which are today measured in the billions in annual revenue. Google acquired ASI in 2003, and first-round investors reaped more than 100x return on their investment. Elbaz was appointed Engineering Director for Google Santa Monica where he focused on building up the local office, and continued to work on AdSense and other products. AdSense helped establish Google’s place as a leader in the field of online advertising and in 2005, Elbaz was presented with the prestigious Founders’ Award. Since leaving in 2007, true to his entrepreneurial bent, Elbaz has founded a new company whose technology will soon be revealed.

In 1991, he earned his bachelor’s degree from California Institute of Technology with a double major in Engineering & Applied Science and Economics, and in 2008, Elbaz was very honored to be named Young Alumni Trustee to the Caltech Board of Trustees.

Active in a number of non-profit areas, Elbaz sits on the board of trustees for the X Prize Foundation. He and his wife Elyssa manage the Elbaz Family Foundation, which supports environmental and educational causes, and are involved in Los Angeles Social Ventures Partners. Committed to the open information arena, Elbaz supports organizations such as public.resource.org, and is president and founder of the CommonCrawl Foundation, dedicated to helping democratize access to web information.

- Crunchbase (http://www.crunchbase.com/person/gil-elbaz)

  • Bundle
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Rackspace Hosting
  • .CO
  • Serve (amex)
  • Tagged
  • Berlin Partner
  • IBT
  • OpenSRS
  • PR Newswire
  • RIM
  • SoftLayer
  • StrataScale Inc.
  • TokBox

Ally Parker

Kaitlin Pike
(415) 947-6306

View a complete list of Web 2.0 Expo contacts.