Bottlenose is entering its next phase of helping people discover trends in the social networking world in real-time, and in a smarter way. As co-founder Nova Spivack describes it, “Bottlenose shows what is important on social networks, the next generation of the Internet. It’s not about the web anymore but about messages and change happening in social networks.” With its real-time discovery engine, Bottlenose “curates the collective consciousness,” he says.

The social media dashboard for surfing the social stream in a unified way remains in place, with the Sonar technology for detecting talk around topics personalized to users’ interests and letting people track topics over time. On average, Spivack says, users are spending 90 minutes a day with that part of the service. The second step in the app’s strategy hones in on measuring the crowd in real-time, and what is getting attention on the global network (as compared to the personal one) to pinpoint trending news, pictures and links.

“There’s a big difference between search and discovery. Search is indexing and the past, and discovery is about the present and finding thing,” Spivack says. “Imagine if you could be the first to see what’s trending right now about anything – obviously you’d have an advantage,” but it’s not one that’s easy to get, given the noisy and chaotic world of social networks and search engines’ focus on indexing the past.

Users can enter a term in a new discovery bar and get all the relevant content from Twitter, Facebook and Google+, as well as YouTube and top photo sharing sites, in a “Now” view of what is being said across the networks as well as topics trending around that term, top links being shared around it, and trending photos and videos related to it, all updated every few seconds. A Scanner tab gives a view that includes some sentiment analysis insight, and trending people and users’ from their own network, among other features. There’s also a Paper option to make a newspaper-like layout of stream updates.

A Pictures tab lets viewers see images that are real-time trending around a topic, and a Video tab should be available soon to do the same for that media format.

To take Bottlenose to this next level, “having powerful semantic technology is key,” Spivack says. The update extends and exposes additional capabilities of the app’s StreamOS platform that does real-time natural language processing and semantic classification, topic detection, analytics, sentiment analysis, trend detection, personalization, visualization, profiling, computation, storage, networking, messaging, and more. StreamSense, Bottlenose’s comparison to Google PageRank, does the work of sensing what is going on and figuring out which social messages are most important for a topic. For this release, Streamsense also has added new intelligence around finding trends, to see early signals and how they are valuable to different use cases.

“It’s a really big technology challenge to do this, and really hard,” says Spivack, with a nod to co-founder and CTO Dominick ter Heide as “a god, an actual god,” along with his engineering team. It’s a massive computational and storage challenge and StreamOS and the crowd computing architecture makes it possible to eschew “some giant server farm in the sky,” and instead enable thigs to happen at the edge in the browser. “There are almost 60,000 CPUs that belong to our users, and that’s our data center,” he says. Bottlenose is able to process semantically up to 3,000 messags per second per browser, which is beyond what’s called for in real life. Additionally, in the future, those nodes on the edge, as they discover trends, can share things back with Bottlenose, in a grid-computer like fashion.

A pro version of Bottlenose is still on the horizon, though Spivack says a lot of top global brands are using it now to track real-time conversations and emerging interest bubbles. Ultimately, the bigger-picture for Bottlenose is exactly that:

“Our company is trying to own the now,” Spivack says. “We want to be the company for the now, with the highest resolution, most real-time view of what is happening in the world around any topic, person or brand. That could make us one of the most valuable companies on the planet.”