Google is acquiring Fflick, a startup that provides movie recommendations based upon users’ Twitter feeds in a deal that could enable the search giant to incorporate sentiment analysis and social considerations into its content discovery process. TechCrunch first reported the news Tuesday, pegging the price tag at around $10 million. That’s a pittance compared to Google’s $200 billion market cap, but it could provide tons of value for the company, particularly as it looks to improve the way that users discover content.
Fflick runs a sentiment analysis engine that recommends movies to users based upon their and their friends’ Twitter feeds. The site lets you judge movies based upon tweets from all users, filter movies to see just those that you or your friends have tweeted about and share your movies on Twitter. Fflick also allows users to buy movie tickets and add films to their Instant Queue if they are Netflix users.
Fflick is just one of many new socially driven recommendations engines that have emerged over the past year or so; websites and apps like Miso, Philo, GetGlue, yap.TV and Comcast’s Tunerfish have emerged as a way to get users to log their media usage and share it with friends. And video search engine Clicker.com integrated with Facebook as a way to drive more personalized recommendations for its users, based in part on their social graphs.
Through all of these launches, one thing is clear: Increasingly, content discovery will come through personalized recommendations that incorporate social networks. By purchasing Fflick, Google is buying into this idea, which could help it improve video discovery, recommendations and targeting on YouTube, Google TV products and even through its traditional search engine.
Google is already looking to get more social with video recommendations on YouTube, changing the YouTube homepage to highlight subscription and friend feeds. But using technology like Fflick’s, Google could improve content discovery on the site, perhaps making the videos it surfaces more relevant to users. Google could also extend video recommendations based on social data to its Google TV products, enabling viewers to not only find content suggested by friends, but to get a good idea of how good a show is based on Twitter sentiment analysis.
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