Hadoop startup WibiData has updated Kiji, its open source project that aims to make HBase a better (or easier) database for serving real-time applications. Among the updates in its latest SDK is an improved version of the KijiScoring feature. “Developers can now pass per-request settings to producer functions, greatly expanding the flexibility of real-time predictive model scoring. For example, a user’s current geolocation from mobile application can be factored in when re-computing which offers or recommendations to serve a user,” explains a press release.

Guavus, a San Mateo, Calif.-based startup that specializes in analyzing the data coming off carrier networks, has hired former NetApp EVP Manish Goel as CEO. Goel replaces Anukool Lakhina, who founded the company and will stay on board to help drive its technology strategy, among other things. Guavus has raised $87 million in capital and claims some major wireless carriers as customers of its software that helps tie customer data to network activity.

Yelp has announced the winners of its inaugural Yelp Dataset Challenge, and the four entries it chose actually seem pretty useful. They run the gamut from a technique to highlight key words so users can read reviews faster to helping businesses predict whether they’ll see an uptick in activity on Yelp. Having read countless reviews giving restaurants low ratings even though the food was good, I think the entry that extracts subtopics (e.g., food, service, ambience) from restaurant reviews might be my favorite.

IBM is going to acquire a Dublin, Ireland-based company called The Now Factory, which specializes in providing customer and network analytics for wireless carriers. The idea is that better, faster data about their networks can help carriers optimize performance and better serve (or target) customers based on their usage behavior. The Now Factory seems similar in vision to the San Mateo, Calif.-based Guavus, and it seems logical the two will cross paths more often thanks to IBM’s global reach.

Startup Dataguise has closed a $13 million series B investment round “led by Toba Capital with additional capital coming from the investment arm of a leading electronic conglomerate,” according to a press release. Dataguise’s biggest selling point might be its product designed to secure data within Hadoop. Aside from standard authentication, Fremont, Calif.-based Dataguise actually uses big data techniques to analyze data, determine what’s sensitive and then mask or encrypt it.

Cloudera will be integrating with the Apache Accumulo database and, according to a press release, “devoting significant internal engineering resources to speed Accumulo’s development.” The National Security Agency created Accumulo and built in fine-grained authentication to ensure only authorized individuals could see ay given piece of data. Cloudera’s support could be bittersweet for Sqrrl, an Accumulo startup comprised of former NSA engineers and intelligence experts, which should benefit from a bigger ecosystem but whose sales might suffer if Accumulo makes its way into Cloudera’s Hadoop distribution.

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