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12/4/2012
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Gnip Touts Big Data Partnerships

Social data provider Gnip announces partnership program and stresses high quality of its real-time media streams.

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Gnip on Tuesday unveiled its Plugged In To Gnip partnership program, a promotional campaign that promotes the social data provider's business relationships with well-known companies, including such big data players as EMC Greenplum, IBM and Splunk.

Founded in 2008, Gnip delivers data from a variety of social media sources to business intelligence (BI) and social analytics platforms. Like DataSift and other competitors, Gnip provides real-time data from Twitter and other social media services to its enterprise clients, which mine the information for business insights. A tech company, for instance, could analyze tweets within a particular data range to gauge public reaction to a new product launch. Similarly, a hedge fund could use social data to fine-tune its trading algorithms.

In a phone interview with InformationWeek, Gnip president and chief operating officer Chris Moody said the Plugged In To Gnip program not only formalizes the company's business partnerships, but accelerates them as well. "They are companies we've been working closely with for a long time," Moody said. "In some ways, this is a coming-out party."

Gnip's list of partners includes Brandwatch, Hottolink, NetBase, FirstRain, Union Metrics, uberVU, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Clarabridge, Infochimps and Networked Insights. "This is just the beginning. These are initial launch partners," said Moody, who predicted that 2013 would bring the start of a "massive influx" of new enterprise customers.

Great. But what's so unique about having customers, even big-name ones?

"We're moving into a phase where data used to be a bit of a mystery, or in many cases a kind of secret sauce to solutions," said Moody. But as the big data industry matures, organizations want to add a "level of transparency" to how they get their information, he said, adding that some companies have been reluctant to reveal the sources of their social data.

One reason for this is that they might not be getting the information from a legal source, he said. Another issue is that organizations might not be confident in the quality of social data they're analyzing. "There are lots of different ways to go out and get Twitter data," Moody said. "If companies felt like they didn't have very good data solutions … they didn't want to talk about them."

In that light, Plugged In To Gnip could be viewed as a quality assurance program of sorts. Gnip has a distribution license agreement with Twitter that allows it to deliver historical tweets to its clients. It also provides the full corpus of tweets to the U.S. Library of Congress, which archives the data to preserve Twitter users' real-time take on historical events.

In addition, Gnip's Historical PowerTrack for Twitter delivers all publicly available tweets from the past six years. However, it leaves out direct -- private -- messages and deleted comments.

"Plugged In To Gnip partners can certify to their customers that they have complete and authorized access to the best social data in the world," boasts promotional copy on the Plugged In To Gnip site.

Gnip's program partners also will gain exclusive access to some product features. "An easy example is early access to new data sources," said Moody. "Part of our mission is to have the most comprehensive set of data available for different types of analysis."

"Social data is a new and incredibly exciting dataset that our customers are beginning to leverage within IBM InfoSphere BigInsights and other IBM products," said Bruce Weed, IBM big data program director, in a statement. "Via the Plugged In To Gnip business partner program, we make it incredibly easy for them to access that social data."

Gnip provides access to publicly available data from other social services as well, including Disqus, StockTwits, Tumblr and WordPress.

Predictive analysis is getting faster, more accurate and more accessible. Combined with big data, it's driving a new age of experiments. Also in the new, all-digital Advanced Analytics issue of InformationWeek: Are project management offices a waste of money? (Free registration required.)

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