New Topsy Index Leverages Influence & Relevance For Google+ Search
Today Topsy Labs, a real-time social search platform, announced the addition of Google+ as a source in its real-time social search index. Topsy features an influence algorithm to display the most pertinent and popular social results. In addition to social posts, Topsy displays shared links with social context within the results. A little over a month ago, we had previously anointed Topsy as the biggest winner in the Google real-time search fallout. Now it’s getting more powerful with the addition of Google+ data.
One of the most beneficial features touted by Topsy is the ability to rank social results by influence. The effectiveness of the influence ranking within Google Plus results vary by search query. Topsy’s influence algorithm seems to work the best on more granular queries than on broader terms. For example, this search for “Detroit Lions” showed stellar results and links:
While a broader search for “NFL” pulled in some very good links, but also a variety of random comments and “thread-tagging” posts:
Comments on posts show up for most terms on Topsy, and aren’t always the best results for the query. On the other hand, links that Topsy deems to be relevant usually provide great results. Overall, the influence ranked results are helpful, but a cleanup on the ranking of some Google+ comments may help the relevancy.
True “Search” Results
One of the nicest elements to Topsy is the format in which the search results are displayed. Not only are the posts, comments, profiles and links pulled in, but they are displayed in a clean, easy to consume format. The internal search of Google+ is robust, yet clunky if one is looking for multiple results. I did a search for “iPhone 5″ on Google+ to try an get a quick sentiment analysis:
The results were on topic and very good, but required a good deal of scrolling. This is due to the nature of Google+ posts and the visual real-estate that each takes up.
Using Topsy’s Google+ real-time search the results were much cleaner and more concise for the term “iPhone 5.”
Topsy’s results featured 6 results above the fold while Google+ managed a little over one-half of a result. The results were again very good, and swayed me enough to use Topsy as my new real-time search engine as it has clean, easy to digest results.
Community View On Articles
While I enjoyed the shared links that were pulled into Topsy’s results, I really enjoyed the ability to view the community’s posts for each link. Topsy allows searchers to see the post content that accompanies the shared link. A searcher can find a link, click on the conversation bubble underneath a result and see the full view of all shares:
This allows users to quickly see the context in which the link was shared. For the above result, it was easy to see that most users that shared that article were disappointed with Apple for not releasing an iPhone 5. I could determine this very quickly by viewing the accompanying posts. This is a very powerful tool in sentiment analysis and something that Google+ search simply can’t provide currently.
Seamless Tech Integration
Topsy does more than just index Google+ posts, it also ties in different Google+ tech elements. Some of the obvious integrations are user profiles, comments and posts, but Topsy also ties in archived Google+ Hangouts. If an archived Hangout matches a given query, a user will not only see the Hangout in the results, but will also be able to play while staying on Topsy:
A “videos” tab on the left hand navigation also exists that allows users to search for all videos shared on Google+.
Overall, Topsy furthered their stronghold of social search with the new Google+ additions. The frictionless tech tie-ins as well as the easy to consume results make Topsy a great alternative for Google+ search. So if you are looking for a better way to search Google+ give Topsy a whirl!
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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