Bitly Launches Social Data APIs For Real-Time Seach, Attention Spikes, And Deeper Looks At URLs

Bitly has launched a set of social APIs that includes real-time search, attention spikes and metadata about URLs.

Real-time search allows a user to run a query and get back the top URLs and stories. Queries can be specific phrases such as Portlandia or filtering by criteria, for example, with stories about food that people are reading about in San Francisco.


The search can then be drilled down to view by multiple different categories. Bitly calls this a “story.” It gives the user a look at the aggregated data for a group of related links that are about the same thing. Together it constitutes this concept of  story. The goal is to give people a scope of the topic being queried with the ability to drill down to specific categories.


Attention spikes are a different take on search that more reflects what topics are getting attention. The bursts API returns the current phrases that are receiving a burst in attention beyond what would be expected.

From the Bitly blog:

For example, “giant squid” is bursting today because of this story: Giant Squid Captured on Film. Bursts automatically aggregates multiple articles about the same thing together, which you can see on the realtime story pages.


With metadata about URLs, Bitly is providing an analysis on the content of each URL. A query can be done on a URL basis for keywords, topics, content, language, and location relevance. Bitly says it solves the problem that comes with building an application on links.

Documentation for the APIs is available on the Bitly dev site and in its Python library.

Bitly’s Hilary Mason is one of the world’s most recognized data scientists. You can see the excellence of her work in the data and how it is presented visually. Beautiful stuff.

The enterprise is of particular focus for Bitly these days. Businesses will need relevant data more than ever in the years ahad. The new APIs give an enterprise shop the ability to bring real-time data into existing applications that they can then provide to users to make real-time decisions.