Twitter is looking to build more robust analytical tools for the social network, judging by its latest acquisition, Smallthought Systems. The company notes in its official blog post about the deal that as its network continues to grow, “analytics becomes an increasingly crucial part of improving our service.” Smallthought, which was venture-funded in 2006 by Canadian group Ventures West, is the creator of a flexible database tool called Dabble DB — which Twitter says it used to track data about the network until it developed its own internal tools — as well as Trendly, a tool for analyzing traffic and behavioral data from Google Analytics.
Twitter says the four founders of the Vancouver, British Columbia–based company — Avi Bryant, Andrew Catton, Ben Matasar and Luke Andrews — will be joining the social network’s analytics team and “will focus on integrating ideas from Trendly into our current tools and building innovative realtime products for our future commercial partners.” The value of analytics on the huge stream of data that pours through Twitter every day (65 million tweets, according to chief operating office Dick Costolo) is something the company appears to be focusing more and more of its efforts on, particularly in conjunction with its upcoming launch of the “Promoted Tweets” advertising option for companies.
Better analytics around the links that are being shared on the network was one of the driving forces behind the company’s recent launch of its own link shortener, t.co, which will be wrapped around every link (even if it has already been shortened using another service such as Bit.ly). Twitter said that this is being done in part for security reasons, so that it can ensure links don’t lead to phishing attempts or malware, but the company also said it’s interested in tracking what links are shared with a view towards providing analytical services based on that data to users and commercial customers.
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