It’s hard to overstate the importance of data these days. Just about everything we do online — from buying a pair of shoes to sharing a photo to searching for our soulmate — creates new data that may hold the secret to solving a problem.
Indeed, our ability to analyze this fast-growing mountain of data will increasingly shape the world that we live in. And not just in smaller ways, like whether we can find that perfect pair of jeans without ever setting foot in a store, or how quickly we discover that great new indie band we had never heard of. It will also enable use to tackle some of the biggest problems of our time, like making our healthcare system more efficient, making cities and governments more effective, or even reducing world hunger and the spread of disease.
We write about the power of big data on GigaOM every day. Just in the last few months, our data maven Derrick Harris has done stories on topics as wide ranging as bullying, intelligent transportation and genomics, showing how in each case big data is helping to power new breakthroughs. Starting today, in recognition of the growing importance of data in spurring new insights and even new technologies, we are rolling out a dedicated data channel. Now you’ll be able to find the best stories about the data revolution — from the most interesting use cases to the most important technologies to the smartest data scientists — all in one place
The launch of this new channel coincides with something of a perfect storm with big data over the last few years. Because so much of what we now do on the web — and even in our physical lives — generates new data, we’re swimming in the stuff. We have far more data at our disposal than we’ve ever had before, and we continue to collect it at a furious rate.
At the same time, it’s never been cheaper or easier to analyze large amounts of data. What used to take hours or days now takes minutes or even seconds — in some cases, the data synthesis is taking place in real time. Meanwhile, someone with absolutely no computer science training can create a chart to visualize a data set in just a few clicks using a variety of free web services.
All of this means that the business opportunity with data is palpable. The biggest internet brands of today — companies like Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix — are where they are in large part because of their ability to harness big data. And it’s not just the heavyweights of the web that are taking full advantage of this moment; almost every company of any note is thinking about how to use big data to take their business to a new level.
Data is king, and our new data channel will be the place to watch how it’s changing not only the internet but the world around us, too.