That’s something the corporate entertainment cartels have spent millions of dollars trying to figure out so they can more effectively sue their own customers, whom they call file sharing criminals and thieves.
Anyway, over (and possibly above ) that, “I just started blogging,” says Taylor on, appropriately, Bret Taylor’s blog.
He says he wasn’t sure what to write about in his first post but, “I think one theme will be ‘things I want but want someone else to build”.
At Google, he goes on, he worked on various projects which called for data from third party data sources.
But after leaving the Google BizDev team, he came to realize the difficulties confronting the “everyday programmer” who’s trying to access, “even the most basic factual data,” he says, continuing >>>
If you want to experiment with a new driving directions algorithm, it is infinitely more difficult than coming up with an algorithm; you have to hire a lawyer and a sign a contract with a company that collects that data in the country you are developing for. If you want to write an open source TiVo competitor, you need television listings data for every cable provider in the country, but your options are tenuous at best. In July, the most popular “free” listings service shut down their site, breaking most MythTV installations. The CD database (which is used to recognize CD track names when you rip CDs on your computer) has gone through a number of controversial transitions and license changes for similar reasons.
Even when data is [sic] available under a reasonable license, it often suffers from extremely serious quality or discoverability problems.
Barriers to these kinds of data are, “holding back innovation at a scale that few people realize,” states Taylor, going on, “The most important part of an environment that encourages innovation is low barriers to entry.”
So just imagine, he says, “what amazing applications would be created if every programmer in the world had free access to all of these data sets, citing as examples
- Map data for all countries in a relatively uniform data format
- White pages data (names and addresses) for all cities of the world
- Stock data for all major exchanges for all time
- Sports scores and stats for all sports in the world for all time
- Rich meta data for all musical albums and movies from all labels for all time
—- Movie showtimes data for all cities in the world AND TV schedule data for all cities in the world.
Great idea, but how could it be achieved?
Create a Wikipedia for data, suggests Taylor, a, “global database for all of these important data sources to which we all contribute and that anyone can use. When a user reports an inaccurate phone number in your products, save it back to the DataWiki so everyone can benefit, and in return, you get everyone else’s improvements as well. If your local movie theater doesn’t have listings data in DataWiki, you can type it in yourself, and everyone in your town can benefit, and all the products you use that access movie listings will automatically update. Need better mapping data for a city? Pay to collect it, and upload it to the DataWiki. In return you get all the other cities other companies paid for (sort of like a company contributing device drivers to the Linux kernel).”
But he doesn’t hold out high hopes for it working unless, “big companies” donate their data sets to bootstrap the process.”
Bret Taylor’s blog – We need a Wikipedia for data, April 9, 2008
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