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Getting a Handle on Big Data with Hadoop

Wal-Mart Stores, struggling to translate its brick-and-mortar success to the Web, is using free software named after a stuffed elephant to help it gain an edge on Amazon.com in the $165.4 billion U.S. e-commerce market.

As customers flock to social media, Wal-Mart expects sites such as Facebook and Twitter to play a bigger role in online shopping. By analyzing what social network users say about products on those sites, the world’s largest retailer aims to glean insights into what consumers want.