Kutano, The Super-charged Twitter Search Engine

How many times do you research online content, and wish you could do a Twitter search to check out what the 'wisdom of crowds' is saying about that same topic? Well, searching by Kutano, with its browser add-on virtually brings those tweets to you without you even leaving those Web pages (sort of like having your digital pie and eating it too!)

Kutano, which means 'crowd' or 'gathering' in Swahili integrates with Twitter in a compartmentalized fashion. At its initial launch on March 02, '09, its primary offering was 'marginalia,' a discussion feature that allowed users to post comments directly to the sidebar of each web page. Comparable to scribbling into the margins of one's school books, the service provided an opportunity to earmark content with one's own thoughts on a particular subject matter.

In addition to being a Twitter client, Kutano was "re-hatched" (as a Twitter tool) on August 24th. With that release a browser add-on lets users not only comment on the website but also permits users to search and exchange information on any related commentary via a built-in Twitter search functionality.

When Internet Explorer and Firefox users (Safari will be rolled out soon) download the free add-on, a Kutano or a collapsible “window” is displayed to the right of the browser, which shows the discussions and information related to the specific subject matter.

The sidebar opens whenever a new website is loaded up. You can then comment about the site, and at the same time, see what others have to say about it.

Natalie MichelsonNatalie MichelsonIn questioning Natalie Mitchelson,marketing manager for Kutano as to what distinguishes Kutano from Twitter search, she noted "Twitter search is really powerful... however web pages often contain very specific stories and a Twitter search pulling tweets just based on the body of the tweet will miss any tweets that don't have one of the searched-for subject keywords in the body of the tweet." Additionally she says, "Twitter Search only goes as far back as two weeks, whereas Kutano will show tweets that date back to when it went online, i.e Aug 24th." 

"The advantage of Kutano is that it retrieves tweets that are literally linked to the page you are viewing." Mitchelson adds, and it also groups tweets by RTs." In essence, Kutano provides a much more robust search experience than Twitter searches that surface a lot of extraneous tweets, not pertinent to some of the nuances of the subject matter.

Kutano uses a patent-pending page-recognition algorithm to identify the subject of the page so that you can see the same discussion on a website/web page even in cases where there are multiple URLs for the same page.This is particularly important in the case of shortened URLs.

Kutano has competitors, namely ReframeIt and AddaTweet. ReframeIt allows users to add comments in the margin, "highlight" parts of the page, has a "public/private" option for comments and also allows users to form 'groups' which is different from Kutano. It also has the ability to follow comments in a RSS feed and upload Gmail and Facebook contacts into the application.  AddaTweet lets you add tweetable comments to the sidebar of any web page and differs slightly from Kutano in letting you filter those comments by "authority" (who has the most followers) or by those you are following. You can also retweet, reply to a Twitterer, or mark comments as spam.

Kutano is now available on Linux operating systems and its revenue model is online advertising. Because it is a part of the user's browsing experience, Kutano can deliver very highly targeted ads that are very relevant to the user.Their team consists of 7 full-time members and they are based in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

Since they are still in beta, Kutano welcomes users to provide them with feedback regarding how they can improve and enhance their features. For those that want to search 'on the margin' and follow pertinent tweets from the 'wisdom of crowds,' Kutano is worth the testing!

Having fun fishing in the Twitterstream!