On Monday Apple acquired Topsy but nobody seems to know exactly why. Topsy is a social media analytics firm that is best known for indexing every Tweet since 2006. It has used social media to do everything from predicting Hollywood box offices to directing emergency relief during natural disasters. Topsy is one of four firms that have full access to the Twitter 'fire hose' and the right to analyze and resell data; Twitter could most likely have scuttled the deal if it had not pleased them.
John Batelle argued that Topsy would become the foundation of iOS search, providing technology that will make Siri much more intuitive. Another common theory is that Topsy data can reveal trends and relationships that could lead to more powerful iTunes and App Store recommendations. GigaOm advanced a more basic explanation. In an environment where Facebook has its own mobile interface, Microsoft owns a search engine and Google its own social network, Apple needs to create a powerful search function to keep up with the other mega players.
Also this week Facebook revised its newsfeed algorithm to add more links to higher quality relevant news pieces. Imedia Connection described the change as a move to add some depth to the newsfeed but Ignite Social Media had some pragmatic advice for smaller brands -- you'll now find it tougher to compete with CNN and the NY Times and the only way around it may be to pay for space through Facebook's ad system.