Would you like to indicate your feelings about a topic via a sliding scale, and then see what zillions of others feel about the same thing? A Silicon Valley startup is betting you would, and that businesses will find this information useful.
The company, Swipp, is launching this week its "global social intelligence platform." Users find topics in their Swipp app on mobile devices or over the Web, and then slide a bar from hating that topic (-5) to loving it (+5). As the slider and number rating changes, a graphical face changes from a smile for liking to a frown for hating. Dark chocolate, for instance, might have a +3 score among 500 swippers.
The platform then indicates the average rating for that topic by others using the platform. Users can add a photo or a comment around that topic, and can filter the real-time information they receive about others' opinions by friends, location, age or gender. The company is also developing a gateway so that SMS text messaging can receive and display Swipp data.
At launch, the platform is available in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese, as well as English, and the app is already populated with millions of terms to get the conversation going. The company said it is working with "an on-ground network of social ambassadors" in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Brazil and Spain to make sure users in those countries see local topics and trends.
CEO and co-founder Don Thorson said in a statement that, "for the first time in human history, we have over a billion people connected to each other, which has produced an enormous amount of data but very little insight."
He added that the company's goal is "to take all the ideas, thoughts and comments that are currently being lost and bring them together in meaningful new ways that can be used by people, businesses and developers alike."
In addition to the consumer-facing platform, Swipp is also launching a Swipp Plus version for businesses and an API so that developers can integrate the service into their applications. The company sees Swipp widgets, for instance, being embedded into third-party Web sites so that the site owners can glean aggregate user input about content, products or other subjects.
The app is simple to use, so that one only needs to pick a topic and then slide a finger across the slider bar. Swipp says one of its differentiators is that, instead of organizing social media data around authors or users, its data is organized around a specific topic, such as a person, place or thing.
Andrew Frank, Research Director at Gartner, said that, while "there are limitations to Swipp's scientific usefulness," since the samples are self-selected, there will "probably be some marketers and advertisers" who will find this data interesting.
But Brad Shimmin, an analyst for Current Analysis, said that Swipp feels like a distillation of what is already available on such social sites as Pinterest, Yelp or Branch, except that Swipp "seems a lot more grandiose in its objectives." He suggested that Swipp may just be "trying to re-invent what has already been invented."