Quick show of hands: How many of you actually used Ping?
In case you don't recall, Ping was
) valiant effort to enter the world of social media by way of a
music recommendation service through iTunes. And the reason you
might not remember it is because it never caught on, went largely
unsupported, and closed two years later as a colossal failure.
It's been over a year since Ping's crash and burn, and one would
think Apple would steer clear of social media altogether following
such a flagrant swing and a miss. And yet, the
Wall Street Journal
recently reported that the company has just purchased the social
analytics firm Topsy for $200 million.
Topsy specializes in parsing
) data and has logged over 425 billion tweets since 2006 to analyze
trends, topics, and campaigns -- yet another very curious buyout
for Apple in recent weeks.
Less than a month since it acquired PrimeSense, a company
specializing in 3-D motion-sensing technology, Apple appears to be
venturing into uncharted territories -- or at least ones in which
it fell short of success. So while Minyanville hedged a few guesses
as to why Apple would want to acquire PrimeSense (see
What Will Apple Do With Its Latest (Rumored)
), what might Apple want from Topsy?
Topsy's data and algorithms could be put to great use in Apple's
App and iTunes Stores, boosting relevancy in search results by
pushing the apps that are more frequently mentioned on Twitter to
the top of the list and onto the home page. Apple had difficulty
improving its discovery model in the iTunes Store when it acquired
the app search and discovery platform Chomp nearly two years ago,
so this might be a means to fix that fix.
But this all might go even deeper.
Apple could very well use Topsy's data to cater to specific users
and recommend apps via the App and iTunes Stores based on keywords
and phrases that they have tweeted. For that matter, it might even
start curating more relevant iTunes Radio ads and iAds to users
based on their interests and hobbies, thereby increasing revenue
across the company's ad platforms. It also might try taking a cue
) Now's ability to know the information you need before you ask and
upgrade Siri into a virtual assistant that's more knowledgeable
about a user's daily life.
At any rate, it's unlikely Apple bought Topsy simply for its
Twitter log. But what it wants to do with that data and how it aims
to implement that information into its products is as mysterious as
its assumption we'd ever want to use Ping.
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