Since its creation in a Stanford computer lab over a decade ago, Google has always been a hotbed of technological innovation and growth. Many of Google's in-house projects end up becoming smash hits, such as the ubiquitous Gmail service and the Google apps family of Cloud-based tools. But, for every hit, there are usually a few misses, such as Google Wave, that fall by the wayside.
But, in the mergers and acquisitions department, Google seems to know which companies are worth paying good money for. Its latest purchase is the social-media sharing site, Fflick, recently bought for a cool $10 million.
If you've never heard of Fflick, you're not alone. Neither has anyone else. But this intriguing start-up is apparently enticing enough for Google's subsidiary, YouTube, to take notice. Fflick bills itself as a "sentiment analyzer" that organizes messages from the popular micro-blogging service, Twitter, to power a movie recommendation portal.
Fflick was launched last year by four ex-Digg employees, with a focus on analyzing and filtering tweets to get an overall reaction to new films from the average moviegoer's point of view. In a nutshell, Fflick scours Twitter feeds looking for mentions of a particular film and displays those tweets alongside that film in a variety of ways.
Though details are murky at the moment, it would appear that Google plans on integrating Fflick with YouTube to bring its "Sentiment Analyzation" to the popular video-hosting site. This may be just the beginning for such crowd-sourced ranking schemes.
Prior to the YouTube acquisition, the Fflick team made it clear that movies were just the beginning, with plans to use their tweet-scraping software in other areas, as well. The idea behind Fflick has been around for awhile in the form of Amazon's product recommendation service and on other sites. Fflick takes that idea and offers a broader, more all encompassing Social Network approach to product recommendations by harnessing the awesome power of Twitter.
Google's bread and butter is and always has been the Web search market, but it has been actively attempting to integrate a social network into its core offering. It's been an uphill struggle for the search engine giant, and none of its previous efforts have netted any real gains. By absorbing smaller, niche platforms like Fflick and expanding on their ideas, it may stand a chance to grab some market share from social media heavyweights like Facebook.
It has already made some progress in that department with YouTube, which has steadily become more sharing and community-oriented. Hopefully, Fflick will enhance that experience even further in the near future.