SXSW Panel: Creating an Internet of Entities

If you are at SXSW this year, be sure to attend the panel discussion on “Creating an Internet of Entities“. Factual’s own Tyler Bell will be joined by Drew Vogel (Sunlight Foundation), George Oates (Internet Archive), and Pete Warden (Jetpak Inc) in a discussion on how they are all each working to create an Internet where real world entities can be referenced unambiguously. The panel is on Tuesday 3/13 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Sheraton Austin in Creekside I and II.  Full description:

The Internet today consists of a morass of partial and redundant content: the ~17m businesses and POI in the US, for example, are duplicated over 1.2 billion website across over 5 million domains. This tangle of duplicate, fragmentary, and often incorrect information ensures that unequivocally identifying a person, place or thing on the Internet will always be a challenge. The members of this panel are working to fix this, and will discuss their projects in the Library, Government, and Big Data sectors to create an Internet where real-world people, places, and things can be referenced unambiguously. It focuses on pragmatic, real-world examples: the panelists from Factual, the Sunlight Foundation, Jetpac, and the Internet Archive each highlight their specific experiences in creating platforms and apps that identify and disambiguate individual entities across applications and verticals, and describe both the pitfalls and benefits of working towards an Internet of Entities.

Announcing the Data in a Box Developer Challenge

 

We’re excited to announce our latest developer challenge in partnership with Box. Box lets you store all of your content online, and makes it easy to access, manage and share your files from anywhere. For this challenge we want you to create an application that allows users to associate content on Box with locations in Factual’s Global Places dataset.

Challenge Requirements

Create an application that allows users to:
1) Associate a file from Box with a Factual place ID.
2) Download files from Box that are associated with a Factual place ID when they are physically near that place.

For example, a business could enable customers to download marketing material such as a promotional offer, 1-pager, or white paper when they arrive at the business. Similarly, a doctor’s office could enable patients to download forms that need to be completed when they arrive in the waiting room. We’re sure there are plenty of other use cases, so feel free to get creative!

Prizes and Submission

In partnership with Box, we’ll be offering prizes for the top 3 submissions: $1,750 for first, $500 for second, and $250 for third. You can find full contest details and submission information on our CloudSpokes contest page. If you are new to Factual, you can get started by viewing our documentation and signing up for an API key.

Good luck!

Join us at SXSW for the Silicon Beach Showcase

We’ll be at SXSW along with many other of LA’s most innovative and talented startups!  The Silicon Beach Showcase will feature about a dozen startups working in a variety of areas, including social media, digital media, mobile marketing, and big data. Representatives will be on hand introducing their companies and giving product demos.

Presenting companies include:

The event will be on Sunday, March 11 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Valhalla (710 Red River Street). Tyler Bell and Grant Nestor will be there representing Factual.  Be sure to check out the event on Facebook.  We hope to see you there!

Please note – you must have a SXSW Interactive badge to enter.

 

- Vikas Gupta
Product Marketing Manager

 

RestaurantRep: Building a Restaurant Reputation Manager in 48 Hours

 

Congratulations to RestaurantRep for winning the Factual Developer Contest at LA Startup Weekend.  The RestaurantRep team went from an idea to a working product in just 48 hours.  What’s even more amazing, is that they were able to sign up six restaurants as customers before their final pitch Sunday night.

Briefly, RestaurantRep is an online dashboard for restaurant owners that allows them to measure and track the online health of their restaurant across social media and other sites.  Part of their secret sauce is a proprietary algorithm for measuring online health that takes into account Factual’s restaurant ratings, social engagement on social media sites, as well as ratings and reviews from popular online review sites.  Restaurant owners can also see how they rank compared to other restaurants in their area, and set goals for improving their online reputation. RestaurantRep even provides custom recommendations of steps owners can take to boost their score.

We had a chance to sit down with RestaurantRep team member Asbed Kassis following their Startup Weekend pitch Sunday night.

Factual: Can you tell us about your StartupWeekend project?
Asbed:
This weekend we built RestaurantRep.  It allows you to take the social review aspect of your restaurant as well as your social engagement on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to create an online health monitor that gives you a 360 degree view of how your restaurant is doing online.  

F: Where did the idea for RestaurantRep come from?
A:
I have a lot of friends who own restaurants.  In the presentation we showed a case study about a friend of mine, Sean.  Everything we said about him was true.  He is a real person with a real restaurant and his pain of having to manage his online reputation is something that I have heard a lot of people complain about.  So we decided to build something to address that pain point.

F:
Why did you decide to use Factual?
A:  
We hit one point over the weekend when we were really worried that what we wanted to do could not be done, but with Factual’s API and data we were able to pull it off.  Now we’re looking forward to the next steps.

F: What are the next steps for RestaurantRep?
A:
We’ve already integrated with Factual’s Restaurant and Crosswalk APIs, and we’d like to use that data to help integrate with other services like CityGrid, Facebook, and Twitter.  We’ve also already started talking with one of the other teams here this weekend about a potential partnership.

 

API Integration

RestaurantRep used two of our APIs to help build their app, our Restaurants API and Crosswalk API.  During their demonstration, RestaurantRep showed how restaurant owners can sign up for the service, search for their restaurant, and then select it to create their restaurant dashboard.  This type of search can be accomplished by passing the search term (the name of the restaurant), and a city or locality to our API, as shown in the following query:

http://api.v3.factual.com/t/restaurants-us/read?
   q=Mediterranean+Cafe
    &filters={
        "locality":"Pasadena"
    }
    &KEY=[your key]

Below is some of the data that gets returned for the top matching restaurant.

{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
name: "Mediterranean Cafe",
address: "273 Shoppers Ln",
locality: "Pasadena",
region: "CA",
postcode: "91101",
attire: "casual",
category: "Food & Beverage",
cuisine: "Mediterranean",
founded: "2001",
latitude: 34.141354,
longitude: -118.1314895,
price: "1.0",
rating: "4.5",
seating_outdoor: true,
tel: "(626) 793-8844",
website: "http://www.kokosmediterraneancafe.com/"
...
},

RestaurantRep then uses this information to pre-populate an online dashboard. In addition, RestaurantRep uses our Crosswalk API to pull in information from other online services. To query Crosswalk, all you need to do is pass the Factual ID of the restaurant returned in the last query.

http://api.v3.factual.com/places/crosswalk?
    factual_id=19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4
    &KEY=[your key]

Crosswalk then returns the IDs and URLs of other online services for that restaurant. Below is a sample of some of the results that get returned.

{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "allmenus",
namespace_id: "277013",
url: "http://www.allmenus.com/ca/pasadena/277013-mediterranean-cafe/info"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "citysearch",
namespace_id: "",
url: "http://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/235406/pasadena_ca/mediterranean_cafe.html"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "facebook",
namespace_id: "120508767966318",
url: "http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mediterranean-Cafe/120508767966318"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "foursquare",
namespace_id: "4ab91981f964a520ff7d20e3",
url: "https://www.foursquare.com/venue/4ab91981f964a520ff7d20e3"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "urbanspoon",
namespace_id: "",
url: "http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/5/71107/restaurant/LA/Mediterranean-Cafe-Pasadena"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "yelp",
namespace_id: "Rz_EYBuygGYz-xCRZ7042g",
url: "http://www.yelp.com/biz/mediterranean-cafe-pasadena"
}
...

Crosswalk currently supports over 45 services, and the list continues to grow.

Conclusion

Congratulations again to the RestaurantRep team and to all the teams who participated at StartupWeekend LA.  Also a big thank you to Coloft and the rest of the sponsors who helped make Startup Weekend happen. To start building your own applications on top of Factual data, sign up for an API key and visit our Restaurants and Crosswalk documentation.

 

Los Angeles Startup Weekend Developer Contest


We’re excited to announce that we are sponsoring the upcoming Los Angeles Startup Weekend.  LA Startup Weekend holds a special place in our heart since it’s right in our own backyard and brings together some of our favorite SoCal developers, designers, and entrepreneurs.  LA Startup Weekend is also known for producing winning teams that go on to build amazing startups.  Mingly, Volly, and Zaarly all got there start as winners of previous LA Startup Weekends.

That’s why we’re extra excited to be attending this weekend’s event, and to be sponsoring our own LA Startup Weekend Developer Contest.  We will be awarding Free Accelerated Access to the Factual API for one year, plus $500 in Amazon Gift Cards to the LA Startup Weekend team that makes best use of Factual’s Global Places or Restaurants APIs.

What: LA Startup Weekend
When: February 24 – 26, 2012
Where: Coloft, 920 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401
Details: http://la.startupweekend.org/

Contest Rules

Eligibility:

  1. Team and team members must be registered participants at LA Startup WeekendFebruary 24 – 26, 2012
  2. Your project must make use of the Factual API.

Prize:

The winning team will be awarded Free Accelerated Access to the Factual API for one year, plus $500 in Amazon gift cards to be shared among team members.

Judging:

We will judge entries based on the following criteria

  • Creativity
  • Uniqueness
  • Usefulness
  • Design
  • Maturity of prototype (we will judge a functional prototype higher than a slide deck)

Support

Got questions?  Check out our API docs.  Technical questions can be directed to our developer group. For all other questions, send us an email.

Getting Started with Factual

  1. Take a look at our US Places and US Restaurants datasets.
  2. Visit Factual’s API docs to get acquainted with our API.
  3. Explore our other APIs: Crosswalk, Crossref, and Resolve.
  4. Obtain a developer key (John and Aaron from Factual will be present all weekend to support and issue additional developer keys).