Social search is Twitter's next killer app? It's already Aardvark's killer app
A fun game has been sweeping the Internets. No, it doesn't involve answering 25 questions on Facebook. It is speculation about Twitter's future as a profitable business. Advertising Age recently published an article
with (well-sourced) speculation of their own:
Certainly there's an AdWords-like business there, but, as [Todd] Chaffee [an Institutional Venture Partners general partner and a new Twitter backer] told us, Twitter has another "wild card."
In the future, searches won't only query what's being said at the moment, but will go out to the Twitter audience in the form of a question, like a faster and less-filtered Yahoo Answers or Wiki Answers. Users would be able to tap the collective knowledge of the 6 million or so members of the Twitterverse.
"You put a question out to the global mind, and it comes back," Mr. Chaffee explained. "Millions of people are contributing to the knowledge base. The engine is alive. You get feedback in real time from people, not just documents."
This is essentially what Aardvark does. And a really good job of it, I might add. Around the same time that Twitter's biggest goal was to stop crashing
, the Aardvark team received $6 million in investment
to refine social search. Right now, Aardvark routes its questions and answers between several channels: Google Chat, AIM, Windows Live Messenger, as well as good old e-mail. I posed this question to "assistant curator of birds" of Aardvark, Rob Spiro:
adelevie: @robsp can Vark work through Twitter the same way it works through GChat and e-mail?
robsp: @adelevie yup, we're definitely planning an aardvark-twitter integration, using Twitter as another communication channel... coming soon...
Would their two services compete? Could Twitter acquire Aardvark? We'll just have to wait and see.
Aardvark has recently been ramping up activity
, changing the name of their company from Mechanical Zoo to Aardvark, preparing to offer unlimited friend invites to current users, and launching a blog
13 March 2009