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Google Buys Twitter Sentiment Analyzer fflick To Support “Contextual Discovery”
Google has acquired fflick, according to TechCrunch. The price is reportedly $10 million. Is it a talent acquisition, a tool acquisition or both? It’s both.
Using Twitter, the fflick service analyzes and organizes comments about movies: overall, most recent, positive, what your friends have said and so on. This is a very interesting service and it’s easy to see why Google might want it.
Google developed recommendations service HotPot to help improve Local (after the failed attempt to acquire Yelp). And Google has been doing a kind of sentiment analysis of restaurant reviews on Place Pages for some time.
However fflick can be extended across domains and verticals potentially. It could work for products, news, restaurants, TV shows, any number of categories where there are data.
Stepping back one should probably see this acquisition supporting Google’s effort to develop “contextual discovery” or “search with searching.” My sense is that Google is gathering multiple data inputs as part of a distinct algorithm that it will increasingly use to recommend and alert primarily mobile users to venues, events and happenings of all kinds. Personal and social data are a core component of this experience.
While Bing and Blekko incorporate Facebook Likes from my network into search to make it more personal and social, Google is trying to do something equally social but with a different expression or user experience. I’m speculating, of course, about Google’s specific objectives. Regardless the fflick acquisition should definitely be seen in the larger context of Google’s move to incorporate a “social layer” into most of its products.
Postscript, January 26: A post on the YouTube blog confirms the acquisition:
We were impressed by the technical talent, design instincts and entrepreneurial spirit of the Fflick team. As part of YouTube, the Fflick team will help us build features to connect you with the great videos talked about all over the web, and surface the best of those conversations for you to participate in.
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