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December 29, 2009

Collecta Delivers Real-Time Search for MySpace

Any time I hear the word MySpace, my inner geek coughs and the eyes tend to roll a little. But to other geeks, who recognize the social network's 75 million users are posting a significant amount of increasingly rich media every day, the ability to harness this flow of updates and find information sounds like a true tech challenge worth pursuing. Collecta, a real-time search engine best known for indexing Twitter search, blog posts, photos and videos, this morning has introduced a site-specific search engine just for MySpace, pushing their discovery engine toward what CEO Gerry Campbell called "a different vibe and message than any other service."

MySpace, part of News Corp., while languishing in comparison to the juggernaut of Facebook and the geek hipness of Twitter and others, has become something of a hangout for creative artists and consumers, giving the site a tremendous amount of images, videos and text flowing through the network. In addition to this data, one of MySpace's hallmarks (or quirks) has been its mood features, and a highly entertaining way of language, with all sorts of misplaced capital letters, caps lock and exclamation points. The result is a flow that Campbell called "monstrous" and "rich".

In 2009, as mentioned in the wrapup of my predictions post entered at the beginning of the year, real-time became legitimized. In a conversation I had with Campbell yesterday in advance of this announcement, he said that "people are beginning to expect data is fresh and hot," adding "We see this as the fabric of the Web." Collecta's mission is to not only grow traffic on their main site, at Collecta.com, but to enable site-specific searches for other brands to bring real-time search to their content. The first trial was with branded identi.ca search, and the second is with MySpace, which you can find at http://myspace.collecta.com/.


MySpace Search, Powered by Collecta

"We have, since the inception of Collecta, said our destination site is important to us, but equally as important to our strategy is to make sure others who can take advantage of the real time platform can feed into us, or in other cases, they can start with a finite set of data, and we can turn on a full, streaming, bells and whistles site, to tap into the vibrancy and excitement of the community," Campbell said yesterday.

Differentiating in a world of multiple real-time search engines can seem difficult to the typical visitor. Lumped in with OneRiot, Twitter Search, Topsy and others, Collecta is trying to present more than just the newest results, with Twitter dominating, but to also present hot topics in context. The site's front page, echoed on their MySpace specific search, highlights a photo, a story, an update, and a comment, from the real-time Web.

The hot topics on MySpace become especially interesting when mood is involved - giving the results a very emotional feel. In response to the failed airplane bombing on Christmas, the response on MySpace was very guttural, as moods displayed just how MySpace's members were taking the news. In more positive news, you can see reactions to movies or music, such as "Avatar" (See MySpace search for Avatar Movie) and get moods displayed alongside the messages, ranging from shocked, to inspired, rejuvenated and impressed.


MySpace Moods and Updates Around the Avatar Movie

Lest we get too caught up in the frequent hype around Twitter, the site's messaging traffic is still measured in the tens of millions per day, and Campbell reported that MySpace's flow is at a much higher volume. The difference is even more dramatic when you consider how many retweets are counted in that number.


MySpace Updates and Moods on the iPhone

To separate the signal from the noise on sites like MySpace and Twitter, Collecta is working hard to also include concentrated content from traditional news sources and blogs - working to maintain the integrity of a single blog post that may have dozens of retweets. One approach the company has taken is to have a human editor work to curate the data, and then try to match that activity through algorithms.

While many of us may not have ever registered MySpace accounts, or logged into our long-since dormant accounts, the information and moods flowing through the new Collecta-powered MySpace search is very interesting, and a good proofpoint for the real-time search engine pointing to a new data set. Check it out here: http://myspace.collecta.com/