With Twitter become more and more popular, there are an increasing number of online startup companies that are trying to find a symbiotic niche. One of the newest startups that is gaining notoriety is CrowdEye.com — which is being billed as a new and improved Twitter search engine.
A main reason why CrowdEye.com is getting so much press is due to the team behind the startup. Ken Moss, who is a co-founder, worked for Microsoft for 13 years on startup projects such as MSN, MSN Money, MyMSN and even Bing. The other co-founder is Becca Moss, who also worked at Microsoft — most recently on software that could recognize handwriting.
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So what exactly is CrowdEye.com? Here is what the company says in its “About CrowdEye” section: CrowdEye is a new generation of search engine which looks at the worldwide web in a new way. By tracking discussions on Twitter, we can help our users find out what’s important to them right now in real time. CrowdEye has created innovative technology to scan through tweets, retweets, twitter links and more. We then provide you with powerful yet easy ways to slice, dice, summarize and categorize the data to answer your questions.
Facts about CrowdEye
Imagine you are a high-paid executive at Coca-Cola and your company just launched a new brand of soda. You want to see how popular it is, so you hire a polling company and analyze your sales numbers. It could take weeks or months before you get a clear picture. Now imagine you could immediately monitor the public's feedback, in real time. That, my friends, is the power of Twitter. Twitter, the service that lets people share their thoughts on anything and everything in 140 characters or fewer, has so much information to sort through, though, that you might need some help zeroing in on comments about Coca-Cola. That's where Twitter search engines come in. Two more of them were launched Thursday, including CrowdEye, a search engine developed by former Microsoft employees Ken and Becca Moss from their home on Mercer Island.
Moss "It's kind of a common experience for people to try Twitter and not understand it, not understand its power," Ken Moss told seattlepi.com. "You need tools to understand it. ... You need to know, in general, what's been talked about (your brand)." The Mosses have been working on CrowdEye since September, after Ken Moss ended his 20year stint at Microsoft to try something new. Their beta version went live Thursday morning. Users can search and browse through Twitter status updates, and further focus in on their interests by filtering their results. CrowdEye also shows the most-tweeted topics within a search - for instance, the top word in a 12:30 p.m. search for "seattlepi" was "Microsoft." "I really think that the potential is very big once you take a look at all the potential ways companies can put it to use to look at data," Moss said.
Of course, CrowdEye's usefulness is not limited to business. People can use it to monitor breaking news, see what YouTube videos are going viral, or find tips for troubleshooting a software problem. And, because it's all on Twitter, people can immediately jump into the conversation. Plus, a Coca-Cola executive, for instance, could immediately and directly respond on Twitter to people who have concerns about a new brand. "This real-time nature," Moss said, "really what excites us is there are so many ways to use this information that is just kind of brand new." During his time at Microsoft, Ken Moss worked on Excel and Office before heading up the search-engine technical team in 2003, when the Redmond-based company decided to jump into the search-engine deep end and develop Live Search (now Bing).
His wife, Becca, worked with Excel and Windows before leaving to raise their children. The CrowdEye idea lured her back into the working world, Ken Moss said.
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"We've been working pretty hard on it," he said. "It's been incredibly fun, so it hasn't felt like we've been working too hard." So far, Moss said, he's been happy with the response to CrowdEye. He was pleased to see feedback comparing it to other Twitter search engines such as Topsy and OneRiot. What differentiates CrowdEye from the others, Moss said, is that it includes charts that show the historical trends of what people talk about on Twitter. And shows popular topics and Twitter tags so people can "slice and dice your data," he said. The negative feedback so far has been focused on CrowdEye's simplistic design, which is somewhat reminiscent of Google. Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land wrote an article on the launch of CrowdEye and another Twitter search engine, Collecta, which also launched Thursday. Search Engine Land monitors developments and trends in the industry.
"The segment is arguably the hottest in search and there is now a pack of startups that claim to offer 'real-time search' capability with Google and Facebook circling overhead," Sterling wrote. "The concentration of activity in the space probably means that it is here to stay and that it will become a part of traditional search - although Moss believes it's a vertical and won't be building a complete web index." Launching CrowdEye was just the first step. Now, the Mosses will prioritize their work for the upcoming months based on feedback. The Mosses funded the development out of their own pockets. But Ken Moss said he is not too worried about monetizing CrowdEye - it's been clearly shown that search companies can make money through search-engine marketing. "I certainly have big dreams," Moss said. "I hope we can achieve some of the visions about real-time search."
CrowdEye vs Twitter Search
The current trend on the web is toward more and more real-time information, so the race is on to collect, organize, and filter that data so that people can actually many sense of it. However, while 220k #IranElection tweets per hour is incredible, it’s also almost impossible to make sense of without filtering and search technology to help digest it. Today, a new search engine called CrowdEye launched with the goal of parsing that real-time information and making it easier for users to get value from it. This is a space that is clearly heating up. This morning we reviewed Collecta, another new real-time search engine, and Tweetmeme, OneRiot, Topsy, and Twitter ( ) itself also compete. So how does CrowdEye stack up? One thing users of Twitter’s built in search will immediately notice about CrowdEye is that “real-time” doesn’t exactly mean every tweet streaming over the network as it happens. CrowdEye’s results seem slightly delayed, and they don’t auto-update the way Twitter’s do. In fact, the search engine’s FAQ page admits that they’re only able to index “a large subset of tweets.” Not having true real-time access to the Twitter stream puts CrowdEye at a disadvantage, at least where being able to digest second-by-second changes is concerned.
That said, where CrowdEye differentiates itself is in the way in which it frames search results and is able to add context to trends. When you search for a topic on Twitter, you’re presented
with thousands of tweets, but are given no help in sorting through them and digesting what they mean. CrowdEye adds utility to Twitter search in a number of ways: 1. Results pages include a graph of tweet volume over time (limited to the last 72 hours, which the company says is the “most actionable and interesting” data), which allows searchers to see the recent history of certain trends. 2. CrowdEye also includes a list of related categories, hashtags, and common words from tweets about your search term (displayed as a tag cloud). Clicking on any related term or category adds it as a filter and further refines your search, which makes diving more in depth into that topic easier. 3. Popular links being tweeted about your search term are highlighted, making CrowdEye a competitor to link-centric real-time search engines like Tweetmeme. 4. Of course, CrowdEye also displays recent tweets about the topic. CrowdEye was founded by husband and wife team Ken and Becca Moss. Ken previously was the head of the search engineering group at Microsoft and was general manager of Live.com (now Bing).
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