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IFTTT’s Data Access Project brings government data to you – CNET

The free internet-based automation service IFTTT wants to provide an easier way to bring public information to the people, via the Data Access Project, a new group of services IFTTT announced June 22. The project connects information from 40 federal agencies, nonprofits, transit authorities, city and state governments, and other institutions (such as the International Monetary Fund) to IFTTT. This means you can build “If this, then that”-style automations, called applets, to receive the latest news through different social networks, devices, services and programs. 

ifttt-grab

A sample of some of the applets IFTTT has built based on information from transit authorities.

Ashlee Clark Thompson/CNET

Here are some examples of the applets you can enable:

  • Receive a text message when a New Jersey transit advisory affects your bus commute
  • Get an email when the USDA posts a new open recall because of allergens
  • Receive a weekly digest of IPO filings from the US Securities and Exchange Commission

You could also build applets to connect this information to smart home devices. For example, you could build an applet that would make your connected Philips Hue light bulbs flash red if the US Department of State issued a new travel alert.

“It’s not that the information isn’t out there — companies, governments and institutions are releasing information all the time. But for the average person, it’s overwhelming,” IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets said in a statement. Tibbets continued, “Now people can easily find, and use, that information in brand-new ways. We’re excited to see the response and plan to expand the Data Access Project with more services in the near future.”

IFTTT began to connect its services to public information when it launched a channel for the city of Louisville, Kentucky, the first city to have its own channel on the platform. (Louisville is the home of CNET Appliances, the CNET Smart Home and the CNET Smart Apartment.) IFTTT has also partnered with ProPublica for a channel devoted to the dissemination of information about the US federal government.

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Should Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Be Blocked? – Barron’s

Since Whole Foods Market (WFM) agreed to be purchased for nearly $14 billion by Amazon.com (AMZN), analysts have commented on the impact it will have on groceries, pharmacies and food companies. They’ve discussed whether it’s a good deal for Amazon and Whole Foods. But few have questioned whether the deal should be allowed to happen.


Leave it to Standpoint Research’s Ronnie Moas to do just that. In an article last week, he argued that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods should be blocked:

I am very upset about the news this morning regarding Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) taking over Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM). It is mind-boggling to me that the government is allowing Amazon to just destroy everything in its path — record stores, book stores, furniture stores, clothing stores, electronics stores, and now grocery chains…

They will soon get to the point where their market cap is a trillion dollars and most of that money ends up in the pockets of a few millionaires and billionaires. They will eventually replace their employees with robots in an effort to enrich those same millionaires and billionaires.

But will the deal be blocked? Legal experts don’t foresee problems with anti-trust regulators, who are likely to let the deal go through.

Moas also sees potential upside for Kroger (KR) but isn’t ready to buy just yet. He cites Kroger’s valuation–it trades at just 11.1 times 12-month forward earnings, according to FactSet–and the fact that there’s only 15% overlap between Whole Foods and Kroger. So why not now? “I don’t think the market has yet processed how much damage the Amazon and Whole Foods combination could do,” Moas writes. “It is a real game changer.”

Shares of Amazon.com have advanced 0.3% to $995.43 at 1:25 p.m. today, while Whole Foods Market has ticked up 0.1% to $42.82, and Kroger has dipped 0.1% to $22.37.


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