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Google has announced on their blog that they acquired Fflick, which makes sentiment-analysis software to determine what users are saying about video content on Facebook, Twitter and other popular social Websites. Fflick was launched in August 2010 by Kurt Wilms and three other ex Digg employees, and allegedly exited for a cool $10 million.
“We were fascinated by the technical talent, design instincts and entrepreneurial spirit of the Fflick team,” YouTube said in the blog post. “As part of YouTube, the Fflick team will help us build features to connect you with the great videos talked about all over the web, and unearth the best of those conversations for you to participate in.”
Appmarket.tv's Paul Johnson covered them in an opinion piece last year and was quite excited about their technology. Looks like Google was thinking the same, and were willing to shell out for it:
Recommendation and Discovery has become a fascinating area that will be part of our tv future. A lot of effort is piling in to developing new ways to drive recommendations as part of discovering tv and film content - new datasets that add different dimensions to the same bit of content, EPGs are being overhauled to display this extra info, social tv applicatons are emerging that will either help you discover things to watch based upon contextual data (e.g. Rovi, Jinni, Google TV, RottenTomatoes, Netflix, LOVEFiLM, etc) OR social data (Clicker, Miso, Tunerfish, Philo, Hunch…).
These are of course in addition to the traditional ways in which we currently provide social recommendations ie. through ratings and user generated or editorial reviews. When you consider that ratings have tended to be a skewed because people have a tendency to only submit a rating when they either absolutely loved it, or absolutely hated it…there is no middle ground to balance out the insights which tend to make them a little one dimensional.
What sets fflick apart from what we have seen before, is that it doesn't need people to do any more than they would already do. It doesnt need you to 'check in' to a film and add a comment to score trophies and badges. Whatever you post to twitter will automatically contribute to the community of sentiment that fflick is collating.
With Google seeing more than 400 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link, and over 150 years worth of YouTube video being watched on Facebook every day, it completely makes sense to embrace the popular social media landscape rather than keep trying to build social media to compete. Google Wave, Google Buzz, and Orkut were all failures for Google.
Tom Harpointner, Founder/CEO of AIS Media so rightly commented at Mashable:
YouTube integrating comments from Facebook and Twitter should increase content sharing. Now, wouldn't it be wonderful if YouTube replaced their Like button with a Facebook "Like" button?
With Fflick married to YouTube, viewers will now be able to buy movie tickets, add films to their Netflix queue, and retweet other's tweets that they think are relevant to the film they are watching.
Electronista noted, Fflick's technology would be a great platform to support YouTube's forthcoming movie-rental project, which will include major commercial movies sometime this year and it's quite possible Fflick's technology will be used the same way Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand rate and recommend movies based on user preferences, according to eWeek.com and:
Google is layering social software throughout the company's Web services to staunch Facebook's strong user-engagement flow.
The buy also comes one day after Google snapped up SayNow, a company which provides voice-messaging, one-on-one conversations and group calls that integrate as applications for Facebook and Twitter, as well as Android and iPhone.