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Collecta Turns Internet’s Ocean of Data into a River of Real Time Information

I’m blogging from the Real-Time Stream event in Redwood City, California organized by TechCrunch. I will share more of my thoughts and observations in a series of posts at a later time – there’s just so much too process in “real time.” Let’s just say that the future of search, streams and the concept of the “Now Web” is blindingly bright.

One of the presenting companies here is Collecta, a new take on Web search, social aggregation, and real-time aggregation..

Collecta recently launched a new platform in public beta that fundamentally changes the way people find and access information on the web.It is especially interesting for any brand manager attempting to harness and organize conversations across the social Web.

What we’re learning through Twitter Search, is that people want access to the immediacy of conversations tied to keywords, regardless of the authority, Page Rank, and SEO.

This is the dawn of real-time search…

It’s the difference between finding the right content on the Web and finding the right content, right now across the Web and Social Media.

As Collecta CEO, Gerry Campbell puts it, “I want to know what are people saying about my topic, right now. The minute you put rankings and filters on search, it stops representing real-time.”

Last year I introduced the Conversation Prism with Jesse Thomas to map the social landscape as a way of discovering REAL insight into the conversations transpiring across social networks, where and when they occurred.

Initially, I expected brand managers and marketers to use the search boxes within relevant networks to search for past and current conversations. The dream was, of course, to have a search window into the social web and the social graph, in real-time. Collecta, among other specialized tools such as One Riot, Topsy, and PeopleBrowsr are peeling back the layers of society, focusing the our attention to enhance and amplify listening, and plugging us directly into the conversations that shape impressions and perceptions.

While searching the Conversation Prism is real-time is not yet fully realized, it is imminent.

Essentially, Collecta enables Internet search to finally keep pace with the real-time information streams on blogs, microblogs such as Twitter and FriendFeed, traditional news sites, Web sites, and social networks such as Flickr, YouTube, and Digg. It then centralizes the search results in easy to read, continually updating streams.

While not every search requires the immediacy of real-time, Collecta’s technology can dramatically transform the end user experience in countless applications, such as watching a live stream of comments on a sporting event or television show, following breaking news or a natural disaster, or keeping a close eye on brand or product comments.

I asked Gerry about the inspiration behind Collecta and his response paints a picture representing a true shift in technology and behavior, “The evolution of media needs to catch up to the pace of how people are consuming data now. We need to rethink search from the user perspective, not trying stuff results into existing paradigms and products. We have to start from scratch.”

He continued, “Every minute, stories are told on the Web. Yet in traditional search, most are usually ranked out of the results and therefore, people don’t get a chance to see them. With Collecta, you can see these stories break and unfold.”

Unlike other aggregator or search tools that are simply a mashup of information built on top Twitter Search, Collecta has built an entire ecosystem and infrastructure based on the open messaging standard XMPP. Over the past decade, the Collecta team has placed an early stake in the future of XMPP. And the recent launch of Google Wave ups the ante on XMPP’s position in the real time web.

Collecta is a river, while traditional search architectures are oceans.

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43 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Collecta Turns Internet’s Ocean of Data into a River of Real Time Information”

  1. Mariana Evica says:

    Am I correct, Brian, in saying that no search engine or proprietary app can search Facebook for conversations, trending topics or conversation agents of influence? I’m assuming Facebook’s still too much of a walled garden for that, yet.

    Because the conversations on Facebook seem richer to me (and not as limited by the character limits of things like Twitter), I’m waiting for that information revolution.

    • brian says:

      Mariana, even though Facebook switched the option for users to share updates with “everyone,” not just those within their social graph, the stream is still unavailable to developers. This means that you are right, we don’t have a search engine for conversations in Facebook (outside of the social graph) – at least not yet. In the meantime, allows you to search keywords within your social graph today. However, I do agree with you. Conversations on FB are richer, deeper, and more fulfilling.

    • davidleffler says:

      There's a great article from Wired a couple of issues ago saying how Facebook wants to replace Google for searches where people are looking for a “more personalized, humanized Web, where our network of friends, colleagues, peers, and family is our primary source of information,” whether looking for the best doctor or best camera. So I don't think that Facebook will be opening that walled garden anytime soon.
      Here's the article:
      And here's a recent mention on the Wired site as to how most of the engineers hired by Facebook also had offers from Google:

  2. RolandoPeralta says:

    I don't know how I missed this post, but it's quite useful. Thanks a lot Brian. Collecta looks really cool.
    and following the las comments, I'm totally agree about FB. I think that when FB open personal “updates”, they'll give us a strong buzz monitoring tool, as Twitter is nowadays.

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