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Topsy purchase gives Apple access to Twitter data Google doesn't have

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
While the exact purpose behind Apple's newly announced acquisition of social media data firm Topsy remains unknown, the acquired company is one of a handful of firms with access to exclusive data from Twitter the likes of which Google does not have.

Topsy


Search giant Google formerly had access to detailed Twitter data, but the agreement between the two companies was severed in 2012. But Twitter has maintained partnerships for its so-called "firehose" of data with smaller search partners such as Microsoft's Bing, which announced an extended agreement with the social networking site in November.

Now, with its confirmed purchase of Topsy, Apple enters into an exclusive club of companies with access to highly detailed data from Twitter.

Along with Gnip, Data Sift and NTT Data, Topsy is one of four "certified data resellers" with exclusive rights to collect and resell Twitter data, according to The Wall Street Journal. Those four companies are responsible for the majority of the social networking site's data revenue.

Companies like Topsy can resell the data to "hundreds of smaller software analytics firms," the report said. To maintain the elite relationship with Twitter, the companies must audit their clients, ensure that user's real names are not revealed, and help crack down on spam on the site.

"Though Twitter's data is public, the sheer volume of tweets -- roughly 500 million a day -- means that only companies with sophisticated software and storage capabilities can analyze it," reporter Elizabeth Dwoskin wrote.

The agreement to purchase Topsy is key because Apple's chief rival in the mobile software space, Google, does not have access to such data from Twitter. That could allow Apple to improve its search algorithms, whether for its Siri personal assistant or for discovering data in its iTunes Store or App Store, in ways that Google cannot.

Topsy


Apple's purchase of Topsy was revealed on Tuesday, with a reported price of over $200 million. The company confirmed the acquisition with a typical boilerplate statement declining to reveal its "purpose or plans."

Beyond search, it's been suggested that Topsy could be applied to Apple services such as iTunes Radio, allowing it to help identify and recommend artists or songs based on Twitter trends. It's also been suggested that Apple could offer real-time analysis of market trends to sell advertising on its iAds platform.

Data from Topsy could also help Apple better identify trends for mobile applications, allowing the company to better recommend and discover new software options from the iOS App Store.

The company bolstered its App Store search results last year with the acquisition of Chomp, a mobile application search engine. Chomp's card-like search results layout was introduced that same year in iOS 6.

Other confirmed acquisitions from Apple since August alone are PrimeSense, makers of the motion tracking technology behind Microsoft's original Xbox Kinect; Cue, a personal assistant app for iPhone; AlgoTrim, a Swedish data compression company; Embark, a transit data provider; Matcha.tv, a second-screen startup; and Passif Semiconductor, a power-efficient chipmaker.
post #2 of 39

Sounds like Apple is getting into the user data mining game too.

post #3 of 39
Your thinking inside a box. Only Apple knows what they are up to with this purchase.

Apple needs to begin to address fundamentals across their internet service, aside from this purchase I mean. Just look at their online stores: cmd+clicking a product image doesn't activate the correct action (open in tab). Why this is important is so the user can use the search results to load of a few products they may be interested in for convenience, and contextual clicking an image results in this:

An image link? WTF?



A worrying proposition if Apple were to go near attempting to build a search engine. This is amateur hour stander web behaviour they can't get right. I am not suggesting they will built a search engine, in fact I'd bet against it happening. I only point out glaring problems Apple's has that can be easily addressed. Another issue I have is that iOS 7 unlocking animation: what's the waiting period for? It's ridiculous.
Edited by Ireland - 12/3/13 at 6:10am
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post #4 of 39
Topsy has it, doesn't mean Apple will get it. I'm assuming Twitter could chose to turn off the firehose whenever they want.
post #5 of 39

This is a Siri play. It will be added to Siri's functionality and will appeal to the demographic that searches Twitter more often than they search Google.

 

I'm a bit surprised that Twitter didn't pick up Topsy. They have a history of buying Twitter-related services (beginning with the first Twitter search engine) and now they have more money than Roosevelt. Topsy seems like a natural fit...unless Twitter is already marketing their own analytics package.

post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Topsy has it, doesn't mean Apple will get it. I'm assuming Twitter could chose to turn off the firehose whenever they want.

 

Exactly what I was thinking. They have other plans.

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post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by cherrypop View Post
 

This is a Siri play. It will be added to Siri's functionality and will appeal to the demographic that searches Twitter more often than they search Google.

 

I'm a bit surprised that Twitter didn't pick up Topsy. They have a history of buying Twitter-related services (beginning with the first Twitter search engine) and now they have more money than Roosevelt. Topsy seems like a natural fit...unless Twitter is already marketing their own analytics package.

 

The funny thing is Twitter was actually using Topsy's services for big moments like elections and sporting events:

 

https://election.twitter.com

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post #8 of 39
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
Just look at their online stores: cmd+clicking a product image doesnt activate the correct action (open in tab). A worrying proposition if Apple were to go near attempting to build a search engine. This is amateur hour stander web behaviour they can't get right.

 

But it does. You’re over the image: it gives you access to the image. You’re over the link, it gives you access to the link.

 

 

Never mind that the image is a carousel of images, which also changes proper behavior.

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post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Topsy has it, doesn't mean Apple will get it. I'm assuming Twitter could chose to turn off the firehose whenever they want.

 

These things are usually controlled by things called contracts. In other words, whether Apple buying Topsy would allow Twitter to shut off the data is in the contract between Twitter and Topsy. Apple has seen that contract. More importantly, the article said Topsy is one of four sources of revenue for its data stream. Why would Twitter want to see that go, especially since Apple and Twitter seem to have a good relationship. Apple built Twitter hooks right into its OSes. 

 

It will be interesting to see how Apple uses this buy. I can see it doing some kind of iTunes integration. It could also be used to improve Siri. I like the idea of a search engine, but that might be tough to do. I doubt Apple is doing that though. 

post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

These things are usually controlled by things called contracts. In other words, whether Apple buying Topsy would allow Twitter to shut off the data is in the contract between Twitter and Topsy. Apple has seen that contract. More importantly, the article said Topsy is one of four sources of revenue for its data stream. Why would Twitter want to see that go, especially since Apple and Twitter seem to have a good relationship. Apple built Twitter hooks right into its OSes. 

It will be interesting to see how Apple uses this buy. I can see it doing some kind of iTunes integration. It could also be used to improve Siri. I like the idea of a search engine, but that might be tough to do. I doubt Apple is doing that though. 
Good points. There's lots of ways Apple could use this. I still think there is a TV play here somewhere.
post #11 of 39
i would bet that it is not what Topsy is analyzing but how they are analyzing it, that Apple is interested in. the future for all Internet involved companies is mining big data.
post #12 of 39
Everyone seems to be focused on what Apple might do with the Twitter data access that ownership of Topsy gives it. Perhaps they are thinking in the totally opposite direction?

"Companies like Topsy can resell the data to "hundreds of smaller software analytics firms," the report said. To maintain the elite relationship with Twitter, the companies must audit their clients, ensure that user's real names are not revealed, and help crack down on spam on the site."

I guess maybe Apple has its own huge river of data, and perhaps they are looking for creative ways to monetize it. The protection of user identity requirements imposed by Twitter might be the key factor in this purchase.
post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

But it does. You’re over the image: it gives you access to the image. You’re over the link, it gives you access to the link.

 

 

You're not making sense. The image is also meant to be a link; it's common practice: everywhere! Apple's online store web masters should know and be fixing this. Sometimes it's as if Apple has never heard of the internet. There's no reason why Google should be so much better than Apple at this. I wouldn't accept it on a website I built myself; Apple definitely shouldn't. The fact that this hasn't been addressed at this stage of Apple online store speaks volumes.

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post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Never mind that the image is a carousel of images, which also changes proper behavior.

 

That's a poor excuse. Besides, this annoyingly non-standard behaviour is the same for non-carousel images on the store. Defend Apple on this and you are certainly a fool.

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post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I still think there is a TV play here somewhere.

 

I don't know why, but I immediately got the same feeling for no obvious reason at all.

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post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by macmtnman View Post

I guess maybe Apple has its own huge river of data, and perhaps they are looking for creative ways to monetize it.

 

I don't see this happening at all. No way.

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post #17 of 39
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post #18 of 39

More than likely, Apple is mainly interested in Topsy's search and analytics algorithms which could be used in numerous areas including using the current data to start their own web search engine, Siri, local search, iTunes store search / "top" lists, etc.

 

However, if Apple is deciding to get serious about iAds, this would be a great "in" to the social consciousness.

 

Could be a double blow to Google; beef up their advertising game and set their own search engine as the default on their products.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
 

 

That's a poor excuse. Besides, this annoyingly non-standard behaviour is the same for non-carousel images on the store. Defend Apple on this and you are certainly a fool.

 

 

There are many websites that use "onclick" events in images to run a javascript - which is perfectly acceptable behavior. No web browser would be able to determine if that results in loading a new page or not.

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post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by d4NjvRzf View Post
 

Sounds like Apple is getting into the user data mining game too.

 

Why not. Google got into the hardware game.

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Good points. There's lots of ways Apple could use this. I still think there is a TV play here somewhere.

I'm thinking there is a lot of good suggestions here, but maybe we might see something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Like an "intelligent agent." Siri gets more context sensitive via twitter feeds and knows nicknames and habits -- as well as locations and the usual calendar events.

 

However, I don't think Apple is Data-mining -- if I were them I wouldn't because it provides a real alternative to Google. An "intelligent agent" is you datamining yourself, and then the agent itself can aggregate and be anonymous. The outside world doesn't need to know on who's behalf it is working.

 

OK, this is my "sci fi" idea from decades ago, but I've been waiting for such a thing to evolve out of something like Google+ -- but they took it the complete wrong way because they keep wanting to OWN your data and be in control. The future belongs to companies that respect you, and work FOR YOU. In exchange, I'm happy to throw revenue their way.

 

 

Google and other companies have forgotten that respecting people can be profitable. Not treating people as chumps and selling their data.

post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

A worrying proposition if Apple were to go near attempting to build a search engine..

 

In reality, that's exactly what Apple _has_ been doing with Siri all along*. Siri is a search engine, albeit not one built the way traditional "search" has been executed to this point. Instead, Siri's search model is modular. Apple can and will continue to plug in whatever relevant search-related service they find beneficial to the service going forward.

 

*Siri searches Apple's properties (iOS, iTunes, the App Store, Maps, etc) and the Web at large (Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, Weather.com, OpenTable, etc). Nearly any service imaginable could be plugged into Siri to provide further utility to iOS users (and presumably OS X users at some point).

post #23 of 39

I think Apple bought Topsy just for laughs and entertainment.

 

There's probably an office pool in Cupertino where they're placing bets on how long before Samsung buys a Twitter company (and announces they've been planning it long before Apple was) or how long before Google unveils a Twitter competitor.

 

The whole iWatch joke has run its course, so they did this to provide the next round of amusement.

 

Maybe next year they'll buy a bakery just to watch the rest of the industry trip over each other in the race to get their digital cakes to market.

post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Good points. There's lots of ways Apple could use this. I still think there is a TV play here somewhere.

TV is a good guess, but the information could be used across all Apple products.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by macmtnman View Post

Everyone seems to be focused on what Apple might do with the Twitter data access that ownership of Topsy gives it. Perhaps they are thinking in the totally opposite direction?

"Companies like Topsy can resell the data to "hundreds of smaller software analytics firms," the report said. To maintain the elite relationship with Twitter, the companies must audit their clients, ensure that user's real names are not revealed, and help crack down on spam on the site."

I guess maybe Apple has its own huge river of data, and perhaps they are looking for creative ways to monetize it. The protection of user identity requirements imposed by Twitter might be the key factor in this purchase.

That would be a complete change in Apples core philosophy of creating features and services to sell hardware. I see Apple strengthing search through this.
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

I'm thinking there is a lot of good suggestions here, but maybe we might see something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Like an "intelligent agent." Siri gets more context sensitive via twitter feeds and knows nicknames and habits -- as well as locations and the usual calendar events.

However, I don't think Apple is Data-mining

Huh? Of course Apple is mining and monetizing information/data on it's users. If it wasn't obvious "back in the day" it became eminently clear when Apple rolled out iAds a few years back.
http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/07/06/early.advertisers.identified/

It's only going to become a bigger part of their business too. They even have an "Apple Data Mining Lab" (yes that's really the name) in a couple of cities, Austin TX for example. The only difference between Apple and Google user data collection is scale IMO. It's obviously a much bigger part of Google's business plan. But don't try to convince yourself Apple doesn't "sell you" too. You are both the customer and the product for each of them, just as you are with hundreds of other companies.
Edited by Gatorguy - 12/3/13 at 9:02am
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post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Huh? Of course Apple is mining and monetizing information/data on it's users. If it wasn't obvious "back in the day" it became eminently clear when Apple rolled out iAds a few years back.
http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/07/06/early.advertisers.identified/

It's only going to become a bigger part of their business too IMO. They even have an "Apple Data Mining Lab" (yes that's really the name) in a couple of cities, Austin TX for example. The only difference between Apple and Google user data collection is scale. It's obviously a much bigger part of Google's business plan. But don't try to convince yourself Apple doesn't "sell you" too. You are both the customer and the product for each of them, just as you are with hundreds of other companies.
http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/07/06/early.advertisers.identified/


iAds is just a multimedia tool to create a platform for ads. Just having ads doesn't meant they are selling the datamining back to potential advertisers.

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Huh? Of course Apple is mining and monetizing information/data on it's users. If it wasn't obvious "back in the day" it became eminently clear when Apple rolled out iAds a few years back.
http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/07/06/early.advertisers.identified/

It's only going to become a bigger part of their business too. They even have an "Apple Data Mining Lab" (yes that's really the name) in a couple of cities, Austin TX for example. The only difference between Apple and Google user data collection is scale IMO. It's obviously a much bigger part of Google's business plan. But don't try to convince yourself Apple doesn't "sell you" too. You are both the customer and the product for each of them, just as you are with hundreds of other companies.


I'm also saying that for Apple to copy Google would be a DUMB idea. Their "product" is partially about Trust. People trust the product to work for them, to be reliable. If it becomes a billboard and a source of SPAM it's not the experience I was looking for.

 

It's like paying for HBO and still watching commercials. At some point, instead of trying to occupy every nitch, you have to decide what your value as a company is. Apple is HBO and Google is "whack the monkey" that pops up in Flash to tell you that if you can hit the flying monkey, you may already be a winner.

 

I don't have much money, but I'd rather pay up front than have some free device inviting me to spank monkeys all day. ;-)

post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Huh? Of course Apple is mining and monetizing information/data on it's users. If it wasn't obvious "back in the day" it became eminently clear when Apple rolled out iAds a few years back.
http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/07/06/early.advertisers.identified/

It's only going to become a bigger part of their business too IMO. Really the only difference between Apple and Google user data collection is scale. It's obviously a much bigger part of Google's business plan. But don't try to convince yourself Apple doesn't "sell you" too. You are both the customer and the product for each of them, just as you are with hundreds of other companies.
http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/07/06/early.advertisers.identified/

 

 

I disagree. Apple primary business model has been to use free or low cost features and services to sell hardware. To the extent Apple collects user data, it seems to do it to improve those features or services. Collecting is a necessity related to the features or services. The people who buy its hardware are its primary customers. 

 

Google's business model has always been to give away free services so that it can learn more about the people using those services so that in turn it can maximize the amount it charges for targeted advertising. Its customers are advertisers. Those are two very different philosophies, and nothing has changed.

 

Apple offers advertising, but unlike with Google, the motivation does not seem to make a huge profit doing so. iAds seemingly was released as Apple's way of creating an incentive for developers to keep creating iOS apps by helping them get paid when offering free Apps and for Apple to recover the cost of delivering those apps for free. Perhaps it was also motivated to take some of Google's money. With iRadio, it can't offer streaming without compensating publishers, and it probably does not want to foot the bill. I do not see iAd being a major push for Apple outside of these areas. Apple could take a Google approach and scan emails and messages and place ads in its free iCloud services, but it has not taken that approach. It could take a Microsoft approach and place third party junkware on its hardware products, but has chosen not to do so.

 

I see Apple continuing to collect anonymous user data to improve its services it offers users for free. This new data can help Apple make movie, restaurant, music, and a whole bunch of other suggestions. That ability can be tied across all products. 

post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
 

 

You're not making sense. The image is also meant to be a link; it's common practice: everywhere! Apple's online store web masters should know and be fixing this. Sometimes it's as if Apple has never heard of the internet. There's no reason why Google should be so much better than Apple at this. I wouldn't accept it on a website I built myself; Apple definitely shouldn't. The fact that this hasn't been addressed at this stage of Apple online store speaks volumes.

First off, the new SVP of Retail (which now includes the Web store) is a master of this stuff and I expect the Apple Web presence to get much better quickly.

 

Second, I expect this "problem" you're pointing out affects a fraction of 1% of the users of the use the Apple store.  If that's your biggest complaint about the site then Apple should be thrilled.

post #31 of 39
Google: "Dang. It would be great to spy on all those Twitter-ers."
Apple: "Eat your creepy hearts out."

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post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

That's a poor excuse. Besides, this annoyingly non-standard behaviour is the same for non-carousel images on the store. Defend Apple on this and you are certainly a fool.

@Ireland - Well I'm supporting both TS, Apple, and a whoever recognizes that you are absolutely, 100%, dead wrong on this issue.

The Apple Store and image carousel operate according to good web design principles at the moment... and are in fact built upon the Twitter Bootstrap API.

You're gonna have to find something else to B***** about.... sorry (not really!).
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post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

First off, the new SVP of Retail (which now includes the Web store) is a master of this stuff and I expect the Apple Web presence to get much better quickly.

Second, I expect this "problem" you're pointing out affects a fraction of 1% of the users of the use the Apple store.  If that's your biggest complaint about the site then Apple should be thrilled.

It affects no one outside of Ireland him/herself.***

Command or right-click the link or the image and a drop down menu appears with "web standard" choices such as "open in new Tab". Geez!

*** Unless Ireland is an it and represents all of the country of the same name... which I seriously doubt.

Although... I guess it could still be an it. Define "it"!...1smoking.gif
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post #34 of 39
This purchase should be a further reminder to all the Twits that the legal system has defined Tweets as the property of Twitter, not the people who authored the Tweets. As such, Tweets can readily be mined by any company that Twitter cares to contract with. Tweets are thus a calculated source of income to Twitter. That said, I would not like to see Apple lower and dirty itself by getting into Tweet scanning.
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSince86 View Post

This purchase should be a further reminder to all the Twits that the legal system has defined Tweets as the property of Twitter, not the people who authored the Tweets. As such, Tweets can readily be mined by any company that Twitter cares to contract with. Tweets are thus a calculated source of income to Twitter. That said, I would not like to see Apple lower and dirty itself by getting into Tweet scanning.

Any person would tell you it's obvious Apple are not going to do that.
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post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

@Ireland - Well I'm supporting both TS, Apple, and a whoever recognizes that you are absolutely, 100%, dead wrong on this issue.

The Apple Store and image carousel operate according to good web design principles at the moment... and are in fact built upon the Twitter Bootstrap API.

You're gonna have to find something else to B***** about.... sorry (not really!).

No no.
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post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

First off, the new SVP of Retail (which now includes the Web store) is a master of this stuff and I expect the Apple Web presence to get much better quickly.

Second, I expect this "problem" you're pointing out affects a fraction of 1% of the users of the use the Apple store.  If that's your biggest complaint about the site then Apple should be thrilled.

I see your point, but it needs to be addressed. And I too hope Apple becomes more web savvy.
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post #38 of 39

What?? Twitter is selling all the tweets?  That's it.  I'm going to encrypt all my tweets from now on.

post #39 of 39

I heard Flopsy and Mopsy are holding out for better offers.

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