EverySignal, a social search startup incubated at Science, is launching a new service that alerts you to the important events from your friends and colleagues. Now, I know what you’re thinking: wait, don’t we have Facebook for that? But EverySignal isn’t trying to replicate Facebook’s functionality; rather, it’s about building value on top of Facebook’s data stream, as well as the data streams from LinkedIn and, soon, Twitter.
The problem, explains EverySignal co-founder and CEO Derek Merrill, is that our social networks have grown so large that we’re suffering from social data overload. “Between Facebook and LinkedIn alone, the average social user has over 400 contacts,” says Merrill. “400 contacts, on average, produces 30,000 posts in your stream on an average month…that equates to over 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook alone.” However, because of Facebook’s “EdgeRank” technology (the algorithms that determine which posts you’re shown in your News Feed), only around 10 percent of posts make it to Facebook’s News Feed, and the average post is only read by 12 percent of a user’s friends.
Many users, especially those who don’t access Facebook as regularly, are missing out on things they would have otherwise liked to know. That’s the problem EverySignal aims to address. And it’s not alone. There are a number startups attempting to discover the signal from among the noise on social networks. For example, apps like TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 finalist Undrip and personalized Twitter app Thirst are two of the newer additions to offer services that help users find the most important posts and discussions from friends on those networks.
EverySignal wants to do the same, but not just for one network – for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other network of significant enough importance. At launch, the service is only focused on Facebook and LinkedIn, but Twitter will be added in a couple of months, and Merrill says that EverySignal is structured so that other popular networks can be brought on fairly quickly.
To use EverySignal, users login via Facebook where they’re then presented with a dashboard view of their friends’ updates on social networks. These are broken down into 10 categories, available to click into using the left-side navigation. The categories include the following: Birthdays, Education, Family, Health, Housing, Location, Relationship, Travel, Auto and Work.
To determine which post belongs where, EverySignal uses a combination of natural-language processing along with its own, proprietary machine-learning algorithms to provide structure where none previously existed. Although some of these categories are built on top of common actions, like changing the relationship status on a Facebook profile or the change in employer on LinkedIn, other activities are inferred by what’s actually being said in the status update. For example, a woman talking about “the shower on Saturday” may be referring to her upcoming baby or bridal shower.
The company also understands that users don’t want another social service they have to visit, which is why it’s offering its findings via email. Every day, users are emailed with the most important life events among their friends as well as the other discussions which EverySignal thinks may be important. It’s similar in that regard to the Job Change Notifier service built on top of LinkedIn, but designed to include far more data.
In addition, the online dashboard can further customize these alerts by favoriting users they want to more closely track, disabling those they don’t care about, and even setting up custom alerts for topics they want to keep up-to-date about. Those topics will be added to both the EverySignal sidebar navigation as well as the email newsletter. From the EverySignal web page, users can also click links to head over to Facebook to comment or message the friend in question.
During its two-month data test, the EverySignal emails saw an open rate of 70 percent, says Merrill. He says that bringing the service to mobile via apps or SMS alerts is on the roadmap. And while they haven’t formally begun work on a business-grade version of the product, brand page owners on Facebook have already been asking for a tool that would allow them to reach out to their follower base with more personalized offers and communications.
Based out of Science’s offices in Santa Monica, the seven-person team includes Merrill, who previously founded and sold MoVoxx and Infreeda, plus co-founders Ricardo Garcia and CTO James Hunvanich. Science is the only outside investor in the company. Users can sign up now, here.