Reports the Wall Street Journal:
Apple recently acquired social-media analytics firm Topsy Labs Inc. for more than $200 million, according to people familiar with the matter. […]
The company is one of a handful of Twitter Inc. partners with access to the so-called “fire hose”— the full stream of tweets since 2006, which now average roughly 500 million a day. Topsy then analyzes this information and resells it to customers. […]
It is unclear how Apple plans to use Topsy.
This is a really curious acquisition, but I like Matthew Panzarino’s take:
If I had to hazard a guess, this might be related to Apple building out the relevancy engine of its App and iTunes Stores. Adding social signals to the search algorithms of its stores could help to improve the relevance of search results and help Apple surface apps that are hotter and more interesting to users. Tracking app trends across social networks would allow them to fine tune categories and collections of apps, and surface apps that are gaining steam more quickly.
Recommendations are only as good as the inputted data; if Apple increases the size of the data input, the output recommendations improve.