When Don Thorson and Charlie Constantini looked at the social graph – some 1 billlion connected people all sharing information at an incredibly fast pace – they saw a problem, and an opportunity. Data extraction wasn’t playing as big a role in the picture as it could, so the possibility that all those connected users out there could actually be gaining knowledge proportional to the size of the social network wasn’t being realized. How to return more value to end users? Thorson, whose career has spanned the video game, computer, Internet and communications industries and companies including Atari, Apple, Netscape, and Ribbit, says there had to be a way to “unlock what the world thinks about everything with the optimistic view that all of us are smarter than any of us.”
So was Swipp born. The startup – co-founded by CEO Thorson, Chief Swipp officer Constantini, and CTO Ramani “Nara” Narayan (both also Ribbit veterans) – and its new social intelligence platform launched yesterday. Its aim is to extract the wisdom of the crowd in a global, aggregated way with a solid data structure foundation as its starting point. Swipp’s effort to merge the worlds of social tools and knowledge tools is based on organizing data around terms or topics in what Thorson calls a “pure data” approach – not an interpreted or extracted one – allowing for data to be aggregated, displayed, and archived around a specific person, place, or thing.
So, when a consumer “swipps” – enters a topic via the web or a mobile device, adds a comment about it, and scores it so that their rating becomes part of the Swipp Index (its stock index of social intelligence) – he or she gets what Constantini calls a “one-two punch of what the world is saying and the truth.” That is, you get to see what people are saying socially about that exact topic, and the Index, which is the combined social data for each topic that can be sorted by geography, time, gender, and age. For the reference knowledge and the context behind millions of topics, Swipp leverages Freebase and its entity graph of people, places and things.