Twitter has acquired social data firm Gnip, one of the few companies to be allowed access to the microblogging service's "firehose", for an undisclosed amount.
Gnip uses its access to the feed of every tweet sent – known as the "firehose", for the sheer quantity of data pumped out through it – to offer deep analysis of social media to companies in areas including marketing, finance and public relations.
Chris Moody, Gnip's chief executive, welcomed the acquisition in a blog post. "We’ll be able to support a broader set of use cases across a diverse set of users including brands, universities, agencies, and developers big and small. Joining Twitter also provides us access to resources and infrastructure to scale to the next level and offer new products and solutions."
Twitter's Jana Messerschmidt, the company's vice president for global business development and platform, said: "Gnip has played a crucial role in collecting and digesting our public data and delivering the most essential Tweets to partners."
As well as Gnip, Twitter recently acquired SecondSync and Mesagraph, two companies with a strong focus on Social TV. Those acquisitions let the company focus on "second screen" activities, where a user watches something on television while interacting with a tablet or phone.
That area is one where Twitter has a decisive advantage over competitors such as Facebook, thanks to the company's focus on real-time communication. Facebook has been trying to enter the space, however, with the introduction of "trending topics".
Gnip's acquisition also follows Apple's purchase in December 2013 of Topsy, another company with access to the firehose. Topsy became the first firm to offer full search of the entire eight-year history of Twitter in September 2013, and some have speculated that Twitter's acquisition of Gnip is a defensive move, designed to keep at least one of the firehose companies in-house.
After the purchase of Gnip, just two independent providers of firehose data remain: Datasift and NTT Data.
Erin Griffith, of Fortune magazine, says that the purchase of Topsy "raised red flags at Twitter HQ. Twitter relies on its ecosystem of data resellers, however small… The company needs to protect its interests and keep the remaining few data resellers out of the hands of competitors."
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