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Calculate the Value of Data Like Google Did

        posted by , January 20, 2012

Information is an intangible asset that can't easily be assigned a monetary value.

In general, it's better to establish the value your business processes rather than the data upon which they rely. Modeling the value of your business data is often a futile activity that leads to misinformed decisions.

Example: Google

Google is first and foremost an information services company. It's two core services — search and advertising depend on copious amounts of data about web pages, users and geography.

Google started to collect information about webpages in 1997. What differentiated Google as a search engine was more than its algorithms — it was the large amount of data they collected.

Google indexed virtually every page on the internet — including your grandmother's blog about baking cookies. They didn't stop to calculate the value of all that data. Google had a greater goal — to become the top search engine. They knew that internet search had enormous commercial potential and they grabbed it.

If Google had wasted time in 1997 calculating the value of web index data (for your grandmother's cookie blog) they might not be the company they are today. Value can only be calculated at the business level. Data is often worth more than the sum of it's records.

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