FluidDB Aims To Become The Wikipedia Of Databases

Comment

A few years ago, Terry Jones sold his Barcelona apartment so that he could single-mindedly pursue a rather radical idea. What if a database worked like Wikipedia—it was not only readable by everybody, but also writeable by everybody?

The problem with databases today is that they are silos of data. Even the databases on the Web are separated from one another and must speak to each other through highly-defined APIs. While most developers equate the flowering of machine-to-machine APIs with the open Web, Jones sees them as controlling. So Jones created a new kind of database called FluidDB (and a company, FluidInfo) with a much more flexible database language which can essentially create database mashups and allow developers to pull data together in unanticipated ways. FluidDb is a shared database for applications. “Imagine if applications with related data were no longer forced to store it in unrelated places,” says Jones.

In his demo at TC Disrupt, he showed an app he threw together called Tickery which is based on FluidDB. It allows you to put in any two Twitter account names and compare the overlapping set of people they follow. But Jones also pulled in data from other sources besides Twitter, such as TunkRank, which sliced the results by influence, and an app he built called Wemet.at which lets people indicate which of the people they follow on Twitter they’ve actually met in real life. He pulled in data from other sources as well, including CrunchBase.

Once in FluidDB, which acts as one giant repository, the data becomes more malleable. Anyone can add to it or query it in any way, even in ways unanticipated by the designers of the database.

On stage, Jones used Tickery to winnow down the overlapping people several investors are following until he ended up with one profile: his own. That was his way of announcing a new $800,000 round of seed funding from betaworks, Founder Collective, RRE, Roger Ehrenberg, and Joshua Schachter. Previously, he raised $540,000 from friends, family, and Esther Dyson.

“The future of data is a writeable future” says Jones, “where any person or application can come along and add information without asking for permission, where data is social, where data that is related lives in the same place.”

Q&A

Chi-hua Chien, Kleiner Perkins: How do you get people to put data i?

Jones: You can make your data more valuable by storing it in a context where it is more useful. Also a flexible permssion system in FluidDB, so you don’t have an edit war like in a wiki.

Who else has the guts to ask a question?

Yossi Vardi: I am concerned that it has some terrifying privacy consequences. I mean it is good, but we will have to kill you.

Jones: the best answer to that question if it was a question is that FluidDb has been written to be extremely simple. There is not a lot that can go wrong. Not a lot in FluidDB, tags

Don Dodge, Google: Security and privacy are fundamental issues for anyone building applications. The hard part is making the developers feel comfortable with it

Jones: I think that is an evolutionary process. The fact that I’ve met John Borthwick, I don’t really care if that is public

Vardi: Is Ron Conway here? Two years ago, he said nothing exists outside Silicon Valley. I want to hear his view. Actually, he told me , he said he was blind, now invested in 20 companies in NYC.

Jones: FluidInfo is in NY because of the vision of John Borthwick and Andrew Weissman

Bijan Sabet, Spark Capital: It is nice to see an entrepreneur who has committed so much of his life to a product. We like to see that. I think the privacy thing is an important issue.

Jones: We will opensource FluidDB so that people will be able to open the code and develop confidence that it is robust. It is very easy to use FluidDB in an incremental way as long as you have meta data

We took Esther Dyson’s Flickr photos and calculated the white balance, show me the photos that are overexposed.

FluidDB’s presentation is at 35:30.

More TechCrunch

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares