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Twitter embraces its data and buys Gnip

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Twitter has acquired Gnip, the Boulder, Colo.-based startup that specializes in giving users access to data from the Twitter firehose. Gnip is one of a handful of companies with full access to the stream of activity from Twitter, which has garnered it a lot of knowledge about how to deal with such immense data volumes and deliver it as a product to businesses. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

For Twitter, buying Gnip (which also provides data on more than a dozen other social media platforms, including Tumblr and Foursquare) means it can provide users with the type of data they’ve always wanted, but that Twitter never seemed too keen on delivering. Rather than providing arbitrary stats about tweets per minute or trending topics around entertainment events, Gnip lets its users search for and receive every single tweet (and all the surrounding metadata) that meets their criteria. Its most-used service is the streaming service, but Gnip also offers historical searches from the entire body of tweets.

Based on Twitter’s blog post announcing the acquisition, it sounds as if Twitter intends to keep Gnip’s business intact and, in fact, expand it:

“We want to make our data even more accessible, and the best way to do that is to work directly with our customers to get a better understanding of their needs….

“We believe Gnip has only begun to scratch the surface. Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter. We will continue making our data available to Gnip’s growing customer base. And with the help of Gnip’s Boulder-based team, we will be extending our data platform — through Gnip and our existing public APIs — even further.”

A portion of the amount of data Gnip delivers about tweets.
A portion of the amount of data Gnip delivers about tweets.

Gnip isn’t the first data-based startup that Twitter has acquired. It bought analytics specialist Lucky Sort in May 2013, but has yet to roll out that technology — which could be similar to Google Analytics for Twitter — into a service for users (at least far as I have seen).

Gnip is one of a handful of companies with complete access to the Twitter firehose, with the two other prominent ones being DataSift and Topsy. DataSift is very similar to Gnip in terms of the type of service it offers, and it announced in December that it had raised $42 million in venture capital and $73 million since 2010. Topsy offers higher-level analytics, including some simple search and trend data that’s even free to the public, and Apple bought it for $200 million in December.

9 Responses to “Twitter embraces its data and buys Gnip”

  1. For everyone commenting “my data” When you use a platform for free such as FB or Twitter you are not the consumer, you are the product which is being sold.

    As for Gnip, Twitter has been working on leveraging it’s scale and data to handle the traffic and Gnip filled another role in providing analytics on that data. I’m happy for the guys at Gnip because what they were doing was truly amazing from a compute perspecti

  2. grahamfreeman

    What was glossed over here, I think, is that Gnip has similar access to Tumblr, Foursquare and a dozen other social networking sites. I think this is the reason Twitter bought Gnip.

  3. What makes us believe that twitter wants to give us it’s data. It is, was and always has been capable of giving it’s data out publicly, because it has that data with or without Gnip, it just keeps it to itself.

    Buying Gnip was a way to silence a company doing something completely legal. Twitter also doesn’t want everyone to have Twitter’s data, because it’s the number one reason Facebook is hated. Twitter also doesn’t want anyone to know how big Twitter is, because it’s the number two reason that Facebook is hated.

    People’s primary reason for disliking Facebook.

    1. It does all kinds of things with the data it mines from your profiles, and it sells that data rather publicly to many third parties, and they can do god knows what with that data.

    2. It’s a huge multinational corporation that has no interest in the needs of it’s users and you are bound to it due to it’s popularity. 900million users is the primary reason you continue to use it today despite no.1

    Twitter just bought the company that was creating the data on it, and would be able to show you just how big Twitter is and just how powerful it is. Twitter would rather be a generic entity that everyone recognizes but blends into the background, like a chair in your living room. Nobody makes data on how many people use chairs, it’s just generally accepted that everyone does. People don’t need to be reminded that it is autonomous, that way it can successfully absorb lots more people into using it without them being concerned that this autonomous entity will do things with the data they give it.

    In today’s world, obscurity creates trust. Nothing can be reported on the corp that is silent.

  4. michiganfan1

    “We want to make our data …” wait did he/she say “our data” ?

    Gee and all this time I thought it was “MY” data – silly me

    Why was whatsapp so popular again …..oh yea they used to be anonymous right?

    Gee – just maybe when over 50% of the internet says its pissed over privacy violation executives should…….listen.

    Take a look at the duckduckgo

    A picture is worth a 1000 words

  5. michiganfan1

    “We want to make our data even more accessible…..”

    Hmmm “our data” that’s and interesting perspective, I always thought it was the end users data – silly me.

    Signed – a lowly unpaid worker of adtech companies around the world