Apple acquires analytics tool Topsy

Apple buys Twitter's Topsy service

In a deal reportedly worth $200m (£122.06m), Apple has acquired Twitter's startup analytics tool Topsy.

Topsy is a database of 450 billion tweets, otherwise known as the "firehose of tweets" which includes every public tweet posted since the service's launch in 2006.

The tool will better allow Apple to use the data provided by social media, putting it in a stronger position to compete with Google and Microsoft.

Why Topsy?

This is not Apple's first attempt to break into the social media market, in September 2010 the company launched Ping; the music oriented social network which was discontinued in September 2012.

In a statement to the BBC, an Apple spokesperson said: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss the purpose."

However, the data provided by Topsy could be of various uses to Apple and its diverse range of products. Topsy tracks what Twitter users are sharing, discussing as well as customer sentiment of all Apple's products across social media allowing Apple to target iAds, and provide an overall more personalised service. Improving its iAds service is of particular relevance to the company as it continues to lag behind Google in terms of its web services.

Topsy could also be used to analyse Apple's own data from the App Store by indexing apps according to users' product preferences, thus providing a better overall experience for customers.

Apple vs Google

Apple also recently purchased Israeli 3D company PrimeSense. At the end of November Apple paid $350m (£213.61m) for PrimeSense, the acquisition has afforded them the technology to further develop their voice search service Siri.

Since Siri's launch in 2011, Apple has improved Siri's search capabilities by integrating the search range with Twitter and Bing. With PrimeSense technology Siri has the potential to understand more than the question being asked, and could eventually perceive your location (as precisely as where you are in your house), if you are in public and a basic level of spatial awareness to narrow down the context of your question.

In this respect Google is still catching up with Apple, with its own voice search only recently integrated into search bars on Google Chrome.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword said: "In purchasing an analytics tool such as Topsy, Apple are more or less upping their game while making a clear statement about their future intentions to Google.

"Thus far Apple's products including iAd and the App Store have struggled in some respects as the company has not had the capacity to efficiently target ads and products according to preference before."