DataSift open-sources its social media analysis tool

DataSift is releasing an open-source version of its Query Builder service to work alongside enterprises’ existing business-intelligence software, allowing more employees to gain more insight from social media mentions.

The open-source presentation of Query Builder, which permits existing DataSift customers’ developers to simplify the tool’s appearance and functionality, might seem like a matter of crossing big data with even more data. But it’s an important step in trying to prompt business decisions based on what companies can learn about users of Twitter, Facebook and other outlets, not just see what people are saying. Social media analysis becomes more actionable and worthwhile with this sort of functionality.

Plenty of companies ask Twitter to filter out certain parts of its enormous data set. But DataSift is one of just two companies licensed to syndicate the firehose of all Twitter feeds. (The other is Gnip.) Its internet-based Query Builder service also allows customers to run natural-language processing off the entire Twitter firehose and adjust it on the fly in several ways. The processing requires a massive amount of storage, to the tune of 1.3 petabytes, said Nick Halstead, DataSift’s founder and chief technology officer. With the open-source versions, developers can add the Query Builder’s streams and processing to business-intelligence platforms, and users won’t even be able to tell it’s running in the background, Halstead said.

With Query Builder, which was announced in August, users can also pull in Amazon (s amzn) forum messages, YouTube comments, bitly links, Topix posts, Facebook status updates and other social statements, in addition to tweets. The data streams and insight on them all cost subscribing customers $3,000 or more per month. Those users will be able to use open-source versions and get more employees on board.