Move over Google, Bottlenose launches search engine for the “now” era

Bottlenose is to social networks what Google is to the web. At least that’s how Bottlenose CEO Nova Spivack describes his tool, launching in public beta today, for helping people make sense of what’s happening right now on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

“We’re trying to be the ‘now’ company,” Spivack told me. “We’re trying to build the highest resolution picture of what’s happening right now.”

Simply put, Bottlenose is search for social networks — or the “stream,” as Spivack labels the never-ending sea of updates that his company attempts to understand. Search for something and Bottlenose will you tell you what the world is saying, but with a filter that finds, sorts, and organizes the social updates of the greatest importance, as they happen, around any given query. Just like Google, Bottlenose is on a quest for extreme relevance.

Bottlenose has spent the greater part of two years attempting to perfect its advanced solution for organizing the world’s attention. In the process, the seven-person, angel-funded startup has fielded three acquisition offers (one from Twitter, we suspect), though it still has little to show the public of its hard work. In December 2011, Bottlenose released its first product, a sophisticated social media dashboard, into private beta. Since then, the startup boasts that it has attracted a user base of 60,000 algorithmically-selected influential web denizens who spend an average of 90 minutes per day with its web-tracking tool.

Today, Bottlenose is making its dashboard available to the public and simultaneously releasing a social search engine that finally dresses up the beauty of its big data brain.

“We’re measuring the crowd in real-time using our algorithm called ‘StreamSense,'” Spivack said. The algorithm uses in-house natural-language processing, personalization, and semantic techniques to figure out trending topics and trending content, he said. “StreamSense helps us assess what the crowd is actually paying attention to right now.”

Above: A Bottlenose “Now” page on Apple

Bottlenose, which runs atop a javascript and HTML5 platform, spits out a “Now” page for every query that includes top stories, trending topics related to the subject, trending people, images, recent links, and fresh comments from social networks. Spivack likens the pages to Wikipedia entries, except that Bottlenose pages are automatically edited based on what the crowd is sharing. The pages will also appear in search engines, exposing Bottlenose’s brainpower and its ever-changing pages to the traditional searchers of the world.

The company’s dynamic results pages are also meant to be collected and saved to the dashboard side of the tool. So a person could use Bottlenose as her Internet start page and browse the latest headlines and conversations surrounding events like the Olympics, scan trending topics across social networks, dive into subtrends, find the most influential people on a subject matter, and read up on the day’s hottest news as plucked from the most relevant social updates.

Before Bottlenose can convince consumers and professionals to use it as a start page or default to its engine for queries, the company will need to prove that it offers more than just your run-of-the-mill social search experience. A slew of similarly purposed engines cropped up a few years back to fill the real-time information gap; consumer rejected most of them and they’ve since faded into oblivion. Now, Google and Bing are supplementing their own standard search results with social feature additions and integrations that, depending on who you talk to, either add to or detract from the overall experience.

Spivack isn’t worried. He believes people will find Bottlenose pages through the standard search engines and stick around for a better view of what’s happening now. And because one can use Bottlenose to detect trends early, Spivack expects professionals, journalists, brand or sports enthusiasts, and news junkies to flock to the tool.

“There’s a lot of different use cases when knowing information early gives you an advantage.”

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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