Apple Acquires Social Media Analytics Firm Topsy

Apple Inc. wants to gain keener insights into conversations around its brand. That’s the feeler the iPhone maker recently sent out with the acquisition of social media analytics firm Topsy Labs. Of course, the tight-lipped and secretive company would not reveal the strategic reason behind the move. Its spokesperson said that the acquisition was in keeping with Apple’s goal of buying small technology companies from time to time.

Topsy has access to Twitter’s complete data stream. It is focused on analyzing billions of message sent over the microblogging network everyday. The firm has developed a searchable database of all the tweets sent by Twitter since its inception. It indexes and analyzes tweets to identify different business trends.

Analysts believe that Apple could be interested in leveraging Topsy’s data analysis capabilities to identify popular trends and make valuable recommendations on finding music, apps and movies. Topsy’s expertise in searching and indexing the gargantuan unstructured content on Twitter seems to have caught Apple’s attention. It is being suggested that the smartphone maker may use this search technology to enhance Siri’s voice search capabilities.

Last year, Topsy conducted an experiment on the Apple iPhone 4S, where it tracked sentiments about the phone on Twitter. While the phone was not initially received well, and contributed to a fall in Apple’s stock price, it reported robust sales figures a period following the initial launch and stock price consequently soared. In its experiment, Topsy had found that sentiments regarding the 4S were positive, and suggested that it was likely to report strong sales.

The latest acquisition marks one of Apple’s very first forays into social networking. It did not find much success with its earlier acquisition – music sharing service Ping. The social network for finding music has been abandoned, and it appears as if Apple wants to start from it left off.

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