Two years after acquisition, Apple shuts social analytics platform Topsy

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Just Shut Down the Best Way to Search Twitter.

Topsy, the Twitter and general social media analytics service quietly bought by Apple for more than $200 million two years ago, closed its doors today.

Topsy was a popular choice for those who analyzed social media back in the day, particularly since it was one of handful of services that gained early access to Twitter’s full data firehose. Topsy, which began operations in 2006, described itself on its corporate blog as “operating the world’s only index of the public social Web,” according to an earlier eWEEK story. Topsy was used by global marketing, news, entertainment and financial organizations to obtain real-time insights into a wide variety of business questions—everything from spotting breaking news and identifying customer satisfaction issues to gauging response to television programming and understanding political sentiment. Topsy was built around the idea of real-time parsing of huge data sets with online tools that analyzed data from Twitter feeds and other sources to track consumer commentary and feedback for enterprises.

At the time, tech outlets wondered why: for its search capabilities, or for marketing advantages, or a sign of something bigger coming between Apple and Twitter? We first started hearing rumors of Topsy’s impending closure a year ago, when the company stopped allowing premium users — those who paid for additional analytics and services beyond the basic offering — to renew their accounts. It could be used to determine how often a specific term was tweeted or retweeted and how the term was used, to identify an influential person on a specific subject, or to measure the exposure of an advertising event or campaign. The Topsy tools also provided reports on how new products were being received by consumers and what people were telling their friends about various topics.

In September, Apple announced the shutdown of its HopStop public transit and mapping app that it bought in 2013 as it moved to integrate transit and mapping services for customers in its latest iOS 9 operating system, which was released that month. Now Topsy is no more—as the company itself announced on Tuesday night in a rather sad tweet—and Apple did not officially announce the move yet, and has not yet responded to a request for comment. Adding social signals to the search algorithms of its stores could help to improve the relevance of search results and help Apple surface apps that are hotter and more interesting to users.

Pulling the thread out a bit further, it’s possible that Apple could even use the data from your Twitter feeds to recommend apps on a more personal basis, rather than ‘generically’ to everyone. In November, Apple confirmed that it had acquired motion-capture technology startup Faceshift, which builds applications that capture human facial expressions as animated avatars or characters, earlier in the year. In May, Apple acquired Coherent Navigation, a Silicon Valley startup that has been using the Iridium satellite network to develop a commercial, high-precision navigation service for a wide range of industries.

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