Bottlenose Enters Public Beta, Takes on Google for Social Search

Bottlenose entered public beta today.  The real-time social search engine aggregates data from Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and visualizes it all for the user in one of several different formats.  Undergoing a major change from its initial product launched a few months ago in private beta, Bottlenose has added several features to enable a broad spectrum of social search capabilities, powered by a new algorithm and plenty of creativity.  Most notable to the update is Bottlenose’s three column lay out that quantifies hype that spreads around the social web.

Bottlenose is not the first web app that aggregates posts from social networks. But it does a few things differently that definitely merit a second look. For one, you can use the site without registering, and still gain a comprehensive view of what the social web is trending.  If you sign in, however, you’ll get a personalized view of your social search queries that incorporates your contacts across Facebook and Twitter, and Bottlenose will continuously learn from your actions to create an individual interest graph to better display results.

And the way Bottlenose actually displays trending topics is fairly unique: a tag cloud named Sonar arranges related keywords in a way that’s relevant to your query.  The Sonar graph can be filtered for different layers to contextualize the relationships between people and places, uncovering the types of messages being shared across the social web.

Newer to Bottlenose is a series of apps alongside Sonar for visualizing your data differently.    There’s the Paper view, similar to Pinterest in that search results are displayed in uniform squares, with text and images.  There’s also a Pictures view, which acts as a live stream of photos being uploaded from influencers and relevant users across the social stratosphere.  The Scanner app is more powerful, letting you drill down into a handful of metrics like sentiment, what type of message is being sent across the social web, etc.

“The messages flowing through social networks reflect what’s happening in the world. Bottlenose measures the crowd to provide a new view of what’s important,” said Nova Spivack, co-founder and CEO of Bottlenose. “We’re mapping the global mind in real-time. It’s a new way to tap into collective consciousness that literally lets you see what the world is thinking.”

The power of StreamOS

The core engine behind Bottlenose is called StreamOS, their proprietary technology akin to Google’s PageRank–but for social.  Written in JavaScript and HTML5, StreamOS does automation, sentiment, analytics, persoanlization and more.  Their architecture is key for crowd computing, which is what Bottlenose is really trying to perfect here.  And this is where the startup gets creative.  Their JavaScript engine is only 3MB, and is then compressed into about half that size.  This is actually installed on the end user’s browser as an app, enabling Bottlenose to effeciently scale their crowd-sourcing data sources on a startup shoestring budget.

“Everyone using [Bottlenose] helps us compute across the crowd.  The new approach doesn’t require a ton of servers,” explains Spivak.  “We can measure everybody and everything, semantically processing up to three thousand messages per second per user, without using servers.”

This is, in fact, a big data solution to a very big data problem, and with eight patents pending, Spivak considers his work with Bottlenose to be on the bleeding edge of big data.  And that, of course, potentially makes Bottlenose a very profitable endeavor.  Uncovering the right data and delivering it to the right people at the right time is the golden ticket for any socially oriented big data solution, and that’s precisely why Bottlenose plans to offer a premium service for its powerful search tool in the near future.  This is likely going to be a good business model for the startup, and one that will attract not only brands but investors.

A big data business?

Bottlenose’s business model will be a differentiating factor in the future, as social data finds its place amongst marketers, scholars, journalists, scientists and everyone in between.  And its agnostic approach to the major social networks out there is what Spivak hopes will make Bottlenose stand out.  Their specialized approach to social queries isn’t something Facebook, Twitter or even Facebook can do, given their “egosystems” full of silos and attempts to control the entire ecosystem around their respective network’s social data.  Where one may be strong in search and indexing, the other’s strength lies in social context.  and without the ability to share data with each other, both are at a loss.

It’s a gaping hole Bottlenose has been anxious to fill for the two years since development began on the project, and its the technology Spivak and his team is focused on to achieve global consciousness, tying us all to this giant “brain in the sky”.   And while Bottlenose takes an AI-like approach to search queries, it’s not the machine’s intelligence Spivak is interested in.

“What’s important is not making smarter machines, but making smarter communities,”Spivak says.  “The force of change isn’t the individual but the group.  The things that changed the world are governments or groups of people that support a cause–nations or cities–all groups.

“So the question is, how do you make groups smarter?  Groups make bad decisions…it should be the other way around.  People in groups can’t handle that many relationships.  With Bottlenose you can see a reflection of the group.  We’re mapping the intelligence of a group.  It’s collective consciousness made physical.  If we can actually measure what a group is paying attention to, quickly, we’ve increased the clock rate of intelligence.  If you provide this mirror back to people that’s faster and better, they adjust their individual behavior accordingly and make smarter decisions as a group.  It can only be a good thing, to give better feedback of where they are, who they are and what they’re doing.”