With more than four million users, Mint’s personal finance platform no doubt has a massive amount of data that it can mine regarding consumer’s spending habits. In fact, the site already uses some of this data to show seasonal trends. Today, the Intuit owned company is launching its realtime customer data insights to the public, after soft launching the product almost two months ago.
Mint Data aggregates anonymous spending data from Mint’s users to give you realtime insight on what people are spending on across the country. For example, the platform lists the most popular restaurants in San Francisco (by visits), the top shopping spots in New York City (by highest average spend), and the highest spending cities in the U.S.
Mint Data will also show spending data both by average purchase price and by popularity, which is defined by number of transactions per month. The rankings can be viewed by category, such as “food and dining,” by specific business, and broken down to the city level. For example, Mint Data shows that the average spend at a Starbucks in New York City is $5.38. The site also compares this to the average spend at coffee shops overall, which is slightly higher.
In terms of actual regional data, you can choose from 300 cities in the U.S. to compare spending. And Mint.com users can compare their own personal finance and spending habits by category or merchant against averages in their area, or against the national average.
As a consumer product, this data is pretty fascinating, and a great way to get a little more insight as to how your spending stacks up against the rest of the consumers in your city or at a particular store. I can imagine that that some of this data could be mined even deeper to compare demographics and spending.
FatSecret, an Australian social network focused on nutrition and weight loss that we covered back in 2007, is launching a new API tonight that allows third party sites and services to tap into its database of nutritional data, excercise information, and other health stats. You can access the new FatSecret Platform here.
CEO Rodney Moses says that FatSecret is allowing developers to access the API for free, in the hopes of turning FatSecret into the reliable and accurate resource for nutritional information. He points out the fact that while there are plenty of diet sites on the web that contain nutrition info for various foods, much of the data is disjointed — there’s no established comprehensive source that people turn to first. FatSecret hopes to become the authoritative hub for this kind of information. The site has gathered its data from a number of publicly available resources like the USDA, and also has many user-submitted entries from users on its social network. Moses says that all of the data has been curated to ensure accuracy.
The other component to the new API is a brand utility, which invites food and beverage brand owners to submit their nutrition facts into the system so that they can be retrieved using the FatSecret API.
Moses says that the site itself is still growing steadily, with half a million monthly visitors and around double that number when including users who access the site through other means, like its mobile applications.
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As an online free mapping service, Google Maps is a great product. But it’s lacking in certain parts of the world. And rather than pay people to go get information about those places, Google has smartly been using a service called Map Maker, which lets locals and people knowledgeable about the area edit it themselves. And this week, Google has added a couple important areas to the list: Mexico and Eastern Europe.
“These two launches have doubled the number of users who can map their country on Map Maker,” Google notes today. That’s impressive, but even more impressive is the full list of countries that can now use Map Maker to improve local maps. And while Map Maker doesn’t work in places like the U.S. and other well mapped-out areas of the world, you can edit things on U.S. maps such as place locations. It seems clear that Google Maps is a wiki of sorts now, meaning the community is responsible for a lot of the data on it.
Now, Google still looks over this new country data, and then allows certain portions to “graduate” to actual Google Maps. But still, it’s a great idea to get more information in your system for free. I wonder how long it will be until Google lets users in the rest of the world in on the fun to edit roads and other features that are incorrect or not listed? Maybe you’ll be able to put in information when you know a road is under construction for a set period of time, for example. That data is out there for large projects, but it would be very useful on a day to day basis for small jobs when I’m trying to get somewhere on time.
Below find an impressive before and after picture of Lahore, Pakistan, after Google Map Maker did its thing.
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Google wants us to move all of our data to the cloud. And yet, they keep having issues where a service that many people rely heavily on goes down. The latest is Google Calendar, which has been down for many people for well over an hour now.
The App Status Dashboard, and Google Calendar’s Twitter account confirm the disruption, but won’t say what caused it. We have an email into Google as well and will update when we hear back. The Dashboard is listing it as a “Service disruption” rather than a “Service outage,” as it appears that it’s not hitting all users — but judging from Twitter reactions it’s at least thousands, if not more.
Over the past year, Gmail, Google’s most important web app, has had a series of high-profile outages. Plenty of services, including Google’s, often get disrupted for a few minutes at a time, but these issues have been of a much larger scale, some as long as a few hours.
Obviously, the more that keeps happening, the harder it’s going to be to sell people on the idea of storing all their data online. Unless, of course, there’s an offline element. Google has that by way of Gears, but it’s ditching Gears in favor of HTML5 offline capabilities. However, not all browsers support that yet.