Social discovery app Banjo has evolved into something quite different from where it started, and that’s a very good thing. The mobile app used to essentially just surface relevant social connections and activities nearby, but it has since harnessed all the data it was gathering to become an event and breaking news detection engine so powerful that many new organizations now use it. It’s putting a little of that magic back into the consumer app today with version 4.0.
Banjo powers a surprising amount of live social content seen on major television networks like NBC, FOX and the BBC, and founder and CEO Damien Patton explained to me in an interview that it can actually predict events and breaking news before they hit Google or anywhere else – public social signals collected in real-time through Twitter and other networks start to ramp up quickly whenever anything important goes down, and Banjo’s tech is excellent at spotting and surfacing that stuff early.
“We look at all these social signals in real time, so what we’ve built is the largest collection of social signals in the world,” he said. “It’s organized by three things: Time, location and context. So now we’re able to curate and index (and that’s the important thing, indexing) breaking news and events faster than anyone else.”
The release of Banjo 4.0 today reimagines the consumer-facing version of the company’s product with that in mind. Patton says this release focuses on “The Live Internet,” and redesigns the interface to help make it easier for users to search for events by keyword and find both live events, as well as archived ones, which can then be viewed as if they’re unfolding right now.
Patton says this is the best way for customers to recapture and relive important past experiences they shared with the rest of the world, in addition to being a great tool that journalists and other organizations can use to curate and distribute real-time information about a big story. Others like Toronto’s ScribbleMedia are doing a similar sort of thing with curated content pages with dynamically updated content, but Banjo’s focus is geared more towards televised and traditional news media organizations.
The consumer app launching today doesn’t expose the full power of Banjo’s event identification and discovery engine, as Patton says that kind of firehose would be unnecessarily overwhelming for the average user. But eventually, the aim is to democratize access to the kind of breaking news coverage Banjo is providing to big media organizations.
“The big vision is giving everybody an all-access pass,” he said. “We want to give people a taste of when in the future they can go to any event they want to live.” As currently implemented, Banjo presents a curated collection of events from around the world for users to check out, and it’s also a pretty great way to step back through time and relive the tense moments when major headline-grabbing happenings went down.
The new version of Banjo is live now on both iOS and Android, and is a free download for both platforms.