Feeds

Yahoo!'s 'interwebs MySQL' crunches four years of Twitter

Ask the InfoChimp

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Velocity Yahoo! has plugged its YQL web query language into a third-party API that lets developers access and analyze a sea of Twitter data dating back to 2006.

"This is the real strength of YQL," Yahoo! technical evangelist Tom Hughes-Croucher told The Reg this morning at the net-infrastructure-obsessed Velocity conference in Santa Clara, California. "It's not that YQL does everything. It's that we make it easier to use services that do the things you want."

YQL — the Yahoo! Query Language — is an umbrella API that lets app developers query, filter, and join data across disparate web services offered up by Yahoo! and the web at large. InfoChimps — yes, InfoChimps, a startup based on Austin, Texas — recently introduced a beta Query API that includes several calls for crunching old Twitter data, and Yahoo! has teamed with the startup to provide a Chimpified YQL interface.

InfoChimp offers, for instance, a call dubbed Trstrank, which uses an algorithm "similar to Google PageRank" that attempts to determine the influence of a particular Twitter user. "A developer could use YQL to generate search results from Twitter, pass them through a call...to order them...and reveal not just what's being said on Twitter, but what's being said by the Twitter big guns," InfoChimps' Sarah Nordquist said of the new YQL interface in a blog post.

As the name implies, YQL mimics MySQL. "Rather than thinking about specific databases, we're thinking about an SQL-like language that treats the internet as one big database," YQL product lead Jonathan Trevor previously told The Reg. But as Hughes-Croucher tells us, there are times when the analogy breaks down. "It's really like SQL, but there are a few differences because we're dealing with web services," he said. "We can't, say, do joins unless the web service supports it."

But the language can enable joins by plugging into services like InfoChimp's. According to Hughes-Croucher, InfoChimp has moved all sorts of data — including Twitter data and US census data — onto number-crunching Hadoop clusters, and then, with YQL, you can make calls that let you tap pre-crunched data. "They'll let you do queries without hosting the data yourself," he said, "and we give you an interface in order to plug into that system."

The YQL API is available as its own web service, and the service includes a web console here (sign-in required), where you can browse example queries and test your own. YQL now offers access to about 800 data tables, including data from Yahoo! services like Flickr, plus The New York Times, Facebook, Yelp, Microsoft Bing, and Twitter. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip
Look at the shiny Windows 8.1, why can't you people talk about 8.1, sobs an exec somewhere
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?