Topsy, the Twitter and general social media analytics service quietly bought by Apple for more than $200 million two years ago, closed its doors today.
That’s according to the company itself, which announced the shutdown in what is ironically its first tweet since being bought by the iPhone-maker.
Topsy was a popular choice for those who analyzed social media back in the day, particularly since it was one of handful of services that gained early access to Twitter’s full data firehose. But, following the acquisition, many users jumped ship to other services in anticipation that its new owner had other uses for it. That turned out to be correct.
We first started hearing rumors of Topsy’s impending closure a year ago, when the company stopped allowing premium users — those who paid for additional analytics and services beyond the basic offering — to renew their accounts. Now that all paying customer accounts have expired, it makes sense that the service itself is bowing out.
Indeed, a visit to Topsy.com no longer takes you to the service’s search page. The URL actually now redirects to an Apple support page for search within iOS. That’s a little odd since you’d expect there to be a notice stating that the service is no longer available or some kind of explanation.
But that’s in keeping with things in general with Topsy under Apple’s ownership. It was never exactly clear why the phone-maker bought the social company in the first place. Writing at the time of Apple’s acquisition, TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino speculated that the underlying technology could be used to improve search with the App Store, and more:
If I had to hazard a guess, this might be related to Apple building out the relevancy engine of its App and iTunes Stores. Adding social signals to the search algorithms of its stores could help to improve the relevance of search results and help Apple surface apps that are hotter and more interesting to users. Tracking app trends across social networks would allow them to fine tune categories and collections of apps, and surface apps that are gaining steam more quickly.
Pulling the thread out a bit further, it’s possible that Apple could even use the data from your Twitter feeds to recommend apps on a more personal basis, rather than ‘generically’ to everyone. Apple has done little of this kind of personalized recommendation work to this point, but there’s always a first time for everything.
We reached out to Apple for comment, but did not hear back from the company at the time of writing. We’ll update this post with any additional information that we receive.