Google has struggled long and hard to launch its own social network. From Orkut, to Buzz, to Google Me, to Google + 1, many of us in the blogosphere have followed its flawed attempts at creating something that would be a worthy competitor of Facebook. This week with the news that it acquired Fflick, the Twitter Sentiment Analyzer, we examine the search giant taking another stab at adding a social layer to its core product.
To date the Fflick service has been known to organize tweets and comments about movies - but Google is looking to extend its platform to address other verticals such as news, consumer goods, restaurants, TV shows, in addition to a number of categories that accrue a large volume of searches.
And since Google also owns YouTube, apparently Fflick will commence its Google acclimation there. The movie service focuses on sentiment about movies and is based on vetted recommendations that emanate from one's friends' and followers' likes or dislike (sound a little bit like Facebook's Open Graph and LIKE buttons?)
Fflick's Movie Reviews
Chloe Albanesius, reports for PCmag.com that since comments on YouTube are not "usually considered to be the most informative or high-brow, perhaps Fflick can make sense of comments like ":02 BOOBIES!!!" The report goes on to say that YouTube "sees more than 400 tweets per minute that contain a YouTube link and (a good number) of YouTube videos are viewed on Facebook every day."
With the acquisition costing $10 million, Google not only gets the sentiment analysis start-up, it also acquires the high-level manpower of the founders, four former Digg employees, including software engineer Kurt Wilms.
According to TechCrunch, the sign-in process is similar to other authentication registrations. You sign in with your Twitter account and are presented with a list of top-ranking movies. Adjacent to each film is a set of relevant tweets from a user's followers. You also have the option of browsing by sentiment, following a stream of positive or negative tweets about each movie.
In a SearchEngineWatch report, they dismiss the notion that Fflick will be be part of Google's algorithm, crawling the Web or even used to rank Web sites. Instead, they see Fflick being used to "rank places." With location-based social networks and geo-location check-ins populating the Web and mobile devices exponentially, these updates are becoming so popular, they are moving into the social Web.
The aggregation of all of these short-format comments, tweets and Facebook status updates regarding location are going to be necessary in polling sentiment across the Social Web.
Additionally, micro-reviews such as TripAdvisor is something Google could potentially replicate with Fflick. Using semantic analysis technology, Google's robots could identify common denominators and repetitive themes within all existing real-time reviews and aggregate them into a scannable format.
In the graphic novel, Facebucks & Dumb F*cks, the satire positions Facebook (aka Facebucks) as the dominant player for the next decade in three areas: social media, semantic technology and Internet search. This is substantiated by all the new features the social network has added in just one year's time. If Google (aka Gobble) is truly going to extend it's 12 years of fame, another 12, it needs to step up its social and semantic game, way beyond a small acquisition like Fflick. At present, the Social Media Grail is still eluding the Big G.
Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel