Bringing ‘big data’ to the masses

I’ve been putting off writing a post on Big Data. Firstly because it’s kind of like yeah, and..? Everyones bloody talking about it so what value do I have to add? And secondly, beyond the surface, I don’t know a huge deal about the ins and outs, and I like to know a fair bit about something before writing about it.

But Google did a pretty cool thing and twitter did a cool thing earlier and I just thought’ it’s about time.

So for anyone who doesn’t know (and come on, you really should by now), Big Data is a broad term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. I touched on it on my blog post about the internet of things. There must be about 40 TedTalks on the topic. Here’s a good one, and the rest are here.

Up to this point, we have heard about big data, a LOT, but many of us have not really seen it. You’ve almost definitely been affected by Big Data, but unless you work in the right job in the right industry then you probably won’t have seen it.

However, something popped up on my twitter newsfeed the other day that got me thinking – are consumers, day to day people, going to be seeing more of it?

This thing was twitter analytics.

2015-10-30 12_49_07-Jessica McCready (@JessMcCready) _ Twitter

This add on means that you can view the reach and engagements on your posts. For the most part, it’s basically useless to the average person. Although interesting, it’s not going to influence your tweeting behaviour, probably.

However it is interesting to see that Twitter are making this information available to everyone, as opposed to just businesses who pay for it.

Google have been leading up to this for a while I think. With the launch of this (I assume) temporary website ‘Freightgeist’ Google have introduced everyone to the wonders of big data, and how it can be useful and fun.

2015-10-30 13_07_16-Google

Now I am unsure whether this was made available in the UK, so I can’t compare and contrast, but here is what we have in the US.

The site has basically collected all the Halloween information from google searches and collated them into intelligible information about trends around costumes.

2015-10-30 12_47_05-Google Frightgeist

You can see what is the most popular costume by area on a map.

2015-10-30 12_47_53-Google Frightgeist2015-10-30 12_48_10-Google Frightgeist And also what’s trending overall.

Moral of the story, don’t go as Harley Quinn – it’s going to be cliche this year.

2015-10-30 12_47_20-Google Frightgeist

I just thought this is a really fun example of how big data is creeping into our everyday lives, and it makes me wonder where we are going to physically see it next. Clearly Google are keen to make it understandable and accessible, so I’m guessing they’ve got some plans.

Happy Halloween!

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