Apple has recently acquired social analytics firm called Topsy that focuses on parsing data from one major social network called Twitter. According to the reports, the deal cost Apple Inc. about $200 million. Topsy is one of the few firms that have been centered on gathering, collecting and parsing data from Twitter’s platform. With this data, the customers have the opportunity of tapping into the store of about 425 million tweets from 2006 onwards, which can be immensely helpful in sniffing out trends.
Gnip and DataSift are the competitors of Topsy in the data reselling game of Twitter. However, Topsy has been the most popular option for those who wish to make some sense of the stuff that people tweet about because of its user-facing tools, which include a topic and trends search engine. It seems quite a confusing deal on Apple’s behalf seeing as it is already a partner of Twitter and its iOS and OS X platforms also have logins and posting features of the social network, especially if the company is only after the Twitter data firehose.
The more likely situation would be that Topsy either has engineers or technology for parsing trends in a way that Apple Inc. can incorporate into one of its products. According to the most plausible solutions, it can be linked to the relevancy engine that the smartphone giant wishes to build for its App and iTunes Stores. The relevance of search results can also be improved by Apple if it adds social signals to the search algorithms of its stores and this can aid Apple in surfacing applications that are more interesting and hotter to users.
The company would be able to fine tune the collection and categories of applications and be able to surface apps that gain stream more quickly by keeping an eye on the trend of apps across social networks. It is also possible that the tech giant utilizes the data of the users Twitter feeds for recommending applications to them on a more personal basis instead of the standard or generic recommendations. Up till now, the company has done little work related to personalized recommendation, but this just might be time for the company to start. The highly probable beneficiaries of the Topsy engine are said to be the iAd platform and the iTunes Radio ads.
Social data can theoretically be used by Apple for helping advertisers in displaying their ads to more relevant viewers. This would boost the relevance and revenue of Apple’s ad platforms, which haven’t been very impressive so far. Chomp, the app search company was purchased by Apple last year, but the company did not use it for its superior discovery model and only utilized its card-like interface. Unfortunately, the acquisition did not lead to a massive improvement in the search results of Apple’s app store and the company has recently been tweaking results to make improvements.