Import.io participated in the Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt to show off its service, which makes data from a website more accessible by turning pages into spreadsheets for pulling relevant information.
Chief Data Officer Andrew Fogg explained that web pages are designed for humans to read. But machines need other ways to understand information. Using Import.io, the data can be queried either manually or through an API.
The effort follows a long history of using services to scrape data from websites. Yahoo! Pipes was designed as a system to connect different websites and the associated data. Dapper was a service that scraped data from web pages and then provided ways to build context. Today, services such as IFTTT and Zapier use data connectors to connect apps. With IFTTT, for example, a feed from a website can be connected to SMS so updates can be delivered as a text message.
Import.io represents a new kind of service for connecting data to get information quickly that would normally require considerable manual work. Data integration is a hot topic as more people find relevance from multiple sources of data. Import.io and other services provide a form of data integration so the web can be treated as a database for machines to understand more than pages designed for people to read.
Check out the video at the top of the post for some use cases about the Import.io service.