Factual Launches Open Data Platform, Including API

Structured data has an open platform, thanks to a new startup aptly named Factual. At first glance, it seems like Excel on the web. However, Factual is more database-oriented, with joining and filtering built-in. Plus, sharing and discussing the data is an integral part of the experience. Most functions on the site, including both reading and writing data, can also happen via the Factual API.

Founder Gil Elbaz announced Factual's launch:

"Today, we are announcing the beta launch of Factual, a platform where anyone can share and mash open data on any subject. Factual provides smart tools to help the community build and maintain a trusted source of structured data so everyone can make better decisions. Users can contribute data and get deeper data on a particular subject, publishers can add free content to their site with embeddable tables to enhance the end user experience, and developers can customize tables and create new applications using the Factual API."

There are a handful of fun datasets already, such as American Idol finalists (embedded below) and a little peak into Factual's employees.

Some have noted a similarity between Factual and Wolfram Alpha, which also has a new API. SearchEngineLand explains the difference:

"Unlike Wolfram Alpha, which is a closed system with data "curated" by employees, Factual has adopted a Wikipedia-like model which allows anyone to create, structure or even edit data in Factual tables. Elbaz hopes this open model will encourage community participation, enabling Factual to grow rapidly and enjoy widespread adoption."

As part of the open model, Factual allows both reading and writing to its API. Also, unlike Wolfram Alpha, Factual's API is free for developers.

Factual joins our list of 20+ database APIs. Among the most similar services are community-generated Freebase and Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network.

Adam DuVander The former ProgrammableWeb Executive Editor, Adam is an API expert now helping regular people connect them at Zapier. Previously he worked at API companies SendGrid and Orchestrate, and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101. Find him at AdamD.org.

Comments (7)

[...] Wikipedia’s unstructured data, imagine what is possible with something like Factual’s open data platform or similar public [...]

I am looking forward to seeing how these guys hadle quality control, will they enxouter the same problems as wikipedia. And will the nature of the data on offer be spammy?

[...] wrote about the open platform when Factual launched a year ago. Now it has launched a new site, as well as a number of local features that go live today. Among [...]

[...] wrote about the open platform when Factual launched a year ago. Now it has launched a new site, as well as a number of local features that go live today. Among [...]

[...] Factual first launched, founder Gil Elbaz called it “a platform where anyone can share and mash open data on any [...]

[...] almost hard to remember that the company started as a generic data platform before focusing on location data in September 2010. While the company is still focused on local [...]