Open data platform Factual.com is beefing up its Global Places offering today with three new APIs that will provide mobile developers with access to a ton of new data which can help them build better location-aware apps. But the company notes that the APIs’ launch will be of special interest to mobile ad providers, including mobile ad networks, demand-side platforms and agencies, who are looking for new data points around geography. This is particularly important on mobile where traditional methods of ad targeting – beacons and cookies – aren’t viable.
The Geopulse API (beta) is the first of three, and works to reveal directionally where Factual intends to go, rather than signaling their arrival at a destination. The API provides everything Factual knows about the location. You provide it latitude and longitude, and Factual returns additional attributes which it calls “pulses.” These pulses use Factual’s network of signals, calculated metrics, and census data, which come from Factual itself, publicly-available data, or from third parties.
The first few “pulses” to become available include:
- Factual Commercial Density: Relative density of businesses near a location
- Factual Commercial Profile: Types of businesses near a location
- Nearest: provides the nearest Factual Place (a business or landmark)
- Demographics: Age, gender, race, median household income for a given location (U.S. only)
The more interesting ones here are the Factual Commercial Density and Factual Commercial Profile. The company has taken its Places data and provided overviews of the density and type of businesses in the area.
A potential use case for this API could involve a brand like Starbucks, which wants to know when, where and to whom it should serve its ads to in order to get the highest yield and conversions. With the API, the company would know not only the exact location of the consumer (the latitude and longitude), but also all the contextual info about and around the location, too.
More “pulses” will arrive in the next few months. Factual says that pricing will depend on use case and usage volume.
The second API is the Reverse Geocoder API (beta) which converts longitude and latitude into an address (U.S. only) or region (49 other countries). There a a few of these out there already from Google, Yahoo and MapQuest, Factual notes. While the company says that it does not see itself getting into the mapping business, it does see a need to serve its own API to complement the other offerings in its Places product.
Finally, there is the world World Geographies API (beta) which is primarily used to translate place names between languages, and determine what cities are found in what regions, what states in what countries, etc. This is another complementary service, as Factual has already published small businesses and landmarks. This adds 6 million more natural and administrative geographies.
Factual admits that there are a few other players that have similar products to those it announced today, but wants to differentiate itself with data (especially in terms of the Commercial Density data, above), speed and scale. The company claims to provide near real-time access to these datasets well-under 100ms.