Topsy.com, launched last week, is a brand new search engine focused exclusively on Twitter content. Like Google, it presents its results based on popularity metrics, namely the popularity or influence of the tweeter in question — a factor determined by how many followers the user has and how many time his or her messages have been re-tweeted.
Based in San Francisco, the company says it plans to branch out from Twitter if it sees initial success, arguing that traditional search engines have not adapted quickly enough to the changing tides of conversation on the web. Essentially, searching Twitter is more likely to produce results that are hot at the time because exchanges are taking place in real time. Google and its ilk lag behind this group. For example, if you were searching for the best computer to buy, Google would serve up links to sites that have built the best reputation over time by getting a lot of hits and linking to other high-traffic sites. Topsy would deliver links to the computers that the most people are tweeting about right now.
Topsy has pulled in a promising $15 million in equity and debt to date, including $900,000 in seed funding from angel investor and Listbot founder Scott Banister. Other backers include Blue Run Ventures, Ignition Partners, Founders Fund and Western Technology Investment.