The Death of Business Intelligence

Google Squared, SPARQL and Wave – a winning BI trio?

Posted in GOOG, Google, Google Wave, SPARQL by janmorath on June 5, 2009

Google is doing a lot these days. Google Squared is an interesting take on the semantic web (as usual – if you haven’t played with it – go there now! – “planets” is a good simple query to start out with).

We’ve been working for a while connecting and combining data coming from the semantic web with data from inside and outside the company firewalls which is a very exciting prospect. The W3C SPARQL query language is a great tool to query data off the web and combining it with other structured or semi-structured data inside the company. It’s easy to see that Google Squared is a way to create structured or semi-structured data out of unstructured data using Google search technologies. Combining these two makes perfect sense. Creating semantic web databases interactively using Squared and the enabling them to be accessed using SPARQL.

When we start to extract data from outside of company control it immediately raises multiple questions:

  • Can the data be trusted? How to QA data from the internet? Risk management?
  • In what way does it connect to internal data? Inferred joins?
  • How does this relate to Data Warehousing as we know it?
  • Should this be done by the IT department or Business?

All of these questions come together in one answer. It means several wise (hopefully) business persons have to put their heads together – what we call collaboration. Google Wave shows us the way forward for a federated collaboration user interface this creates exciting opportunities to resolve the above questions by more dynamically and directly handling the risks and complexities involved.

Seems complicated?

Let’s take it step by step again to understand how the different pieces fit together

  • Use Google Squared to create datasets matching your query needs based on web data. Use a Wave to do this working together with your colleagues.
  • Use SPARQL to query web datasets. Use a Wave to work with the risk and quality related issues of working with web data together with your colleagues insides and outside the company.
  • Use Performance Canvas to interactively create objects for Business People to work with. Use a Wave to do this working together with your colleagues.
  • Publish the resulting Canvas, Mashboard, Dashboard, Report, Analysis or whatever you would like to call it. Use Waves to collaborate and get feedback to improve.

Why Google & SPARQL?

Google is innovative right now. Have a look at other technologies as well. Whether it will be Squared and Wave that will win this game remains to be seen. SPARQL is a W3C query language which seems to be the current emerging standard. No matter what product will prevail in the end all three are very interesting technologies showing us the way into a world where BI is less constrained by slow-moving Data Warehouses and more inheriting the multi faceted agility and do-it-yourself spirit brought by the web.


After reading what I just wrote I think a disclaimer is in place. This is not a product. What is descibed above may never work for real. Google Squared is not ready for prime time. Google Wave is not here yet. SPARQL however is supported today in commercial products like Performance Canvas.

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