Los Angeles-based Factual, the big data startup headed by Gil Elbaz, said last night that it has launched a new API into beta. The firm said it has launched a beta of its Factual Crosswalk API, which makes it easier to translate information about places into 3rd party APIs and websites. The company said the API converts Factual's own IDs into third party identifiers and URLs, and vice versa.
For example, the API can provide the multiple ways a single place is represented across web services -- say, Spago in Los Angeles, California -- and return the URL or identifier of Spago in Gowalla, Foursquare, Yahoo, Zagat, Fwix, Hunch, CityGrid, CitySearch, Urbanspoon, SimpleGeo, Loopt, GrubHub, Gogobot, Openmenu, GreatSchools, Retailigence, HotelsCombined, Menuplatform, and Allmenus, along with others. The new API makes it easier for software developers to correlate data from those multiple, different sites, creating in essence a "universal translator" for data between those services.
Factual is among the most watch LA startups, with backing from Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Ron Conway, and many other angels. Elbaz is best known for creating Applied Semantics, the firm which ended up becoming Google AdSense.