The Web is big. Really, really big. While Wikipedia may be the go-to place for high school students wanting to do some lazy research, for commercial organizations data of note exists across every nook and cranny of the Web. But accessing that data, or, at least, consuming it in a readily digestible way, has generally been too hard. For the most part, websites that are designed for the easiest possible consumption by humans don’t lend themselves to digital consumption and analytics.
This is where import.io comes in. I first came across the company three or four years ago and was impressed by its vision. The company is all about unlocking data. Essentially, import.io is a tool that allows users to regard the entire Web as a big database. In the same way that we all naturally trawl the Web to find information, import.io is a tool to normalize the different data structures that exist on the Web. Data can be extracted from various websites, normalized and combined to create a single dynamic database. Once all this data is normalized and in a single location, it is easy to create visualizations and other outputs.