I am perusing The Human Face of Big Data, and am wide-eyed with wonder. Not only is this book lovely to leaf through, but each page contains a marvel relating to Big Data. Every major industry is seeing changes through this new technology, and the implications and possibility are the stuff of wonder.

 

Take for example the enormity of the amount of data Google processes and collects. Every day, 50% of the world's internet users visit Google.com. That amounts to about 7.2 billion page views and about 20 petabytes of data - a day. But Google is so much more than a search engine. They have their fingers in all kinds of data pies.

 

  • YouTube gets 4.2 billion views each day. 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
  • Project Glass is a work in progress. This pair of glasses packs a camera for still and video recording and the lenses act as a screen where you can project emails, videos, maps, temperatures, and time. It is totally hands free and uses voice controls to respond to emails, send videos, get directions or make phone calls.  And they're sleek looking. I want a pair!
  • Gmail Tap replaces the default keyboard in Gmail application with 2 buttons that provide access to every letter in the alphabet using Morse code.
  • Google Wallet is an app that allows you to use your phone to make payments and purchases. No credit card numbers are revealed at the point of sale, and it's very convenient.
  • Picasa digital photo management lets you organize, edit, add effects, and share your pictures.
  • Google Earth is a wonder of the world: you can take virtual journeys to any location on, in, and around the earth. You can visit a building down the street or across the world, you can take a deep dive into the ocean, or you can take a trip to the moon.
  • Google Translate is an iPhone and Android app that translates 63 languages.
  • Google Maps gets me around town! Its web mapping service provides street maps, route planning, and travel times no matter if I'm in my car, on a bus, or walking down the street.
  • Google + is a social networking tool that strives to help users manage their attention. Its goal is to deliver the information users want to see when they want to see it.
  • DoubleClick allows companies around the world to create and manage their digital advertising.
  • Google Voice integrates all your voice mail into one location. You can tie your work number, home number, and cell number to a Google Voice number. You can control what messages get sent to what number and transcriptions of your voice mail are sent to you so you can conveniently reply with a text message.
  • Google Talk is an instant messaging utility.
  • Google News pulls from 4,500 news sites and is updated every fraction of a second.

 

So Google can collect data on where we are, what we're watching, what we're buying, what languages we're using, what we're talking about, and what images we're recording.  Google uses the data to personalize our experiences with their products, but it also collects impersonal data that is independent of our identity. Some of this anonymous data is used in their applications like Google Zeitgeist and Google Trends.

 

The infrastructure needed to store and process such huge quantities of data is large and diverse. Keeping these system up and churning takes effort and automation. For many small to medium enterprise-size environments, tools to help manage data storage and keep networks running are paramount to the success of their IT environments. The tools and processes for big data processing will become more popular as the value of big data is revealed and enterprises learn to leverage its power.