Organizing the vast sea of
vapid narcissism data streaming across social networks like Twitter and Facebook is no small task—which is why so many developers are taking up the challenge. The latest is CrowdEye, created by two former Microsoft developers, which launches in beta later today. The launch of CrowdEye comes on the heels of Facebook's experiment with enhanced search capabilities and a fresh effort by Glam Media's Tinker topic tracker to better organize its own social search. All have the same goal: To make social networks more robust and useful by helping you find what's important while filtering out the noise.
Developed by Microsoft's former search engineering team leader Ken Moss and his wife Becca, CrowdEye scans through tweets, retweets and twitter links in real time, aggregating posts based on a keyword search and allowing you to categorize, chart and analyze that data in ways that a standard Twitter search can't. A search will return how many tweets contained a specific keyword during a certain time period, or identify who tweeted a breaking story first. A "rewind" function even allows you to roll the clock back as much as 72 hours and observe the fluctuations around a certain topic or keyword in the Twittersphere over that time, offering a window into the way news moves through social networks.
Meanwhile Tinker, which launched in March, is adding a new people search function to help identify those Twitterati blogging most heavily around a certain set of keywords, as well as a featured page that better breaks down trending topics into smaller, more precise categories. But Tinker's greatest feature is the ability to create widgets, based on a specific keyword search, that can be embedded on any Web page, allowing visitors to view the stream in real time and post their own comments that can then be transferred to Twitter.
Not to be left behind, on Tuesday Facebook announced it's own search function, now in testing with a small sample of users, that scans the news feeds of those within the user's social network, as well as all public pages, for keyword references. But Twitter tools like CrowdEye and the improved Tinker, unhindered by privacy concerns or limitations on the scope of searches, have real potential to alter the way news is gathered from social networks. Refined real time search capabilities coupled with Twitter's ceaseless flow of information could turn Twitter into the Web's most important information gathering tool.