Why Google Bought PostRank

There’s already been plenty said about the the process of overlaying “people” data onto “web” data which is at the core of Google’s move into a more social web, and although the big news this week was that the +1 button has now been launched for websites, Google’s acquisition of PostRank could be a much bigger in the long term as the data is integrated into Google’s own social efforts.

There are lots of social analytics companies out there, and all of them claim to be able to calculate the importance of users within a social group, however PostRank have claims to be the most effective in that sphere.  The difference between PostRank and other services is the way in which the different social platforms are integrated towards each other.  Using PostRank, businesses are able to track the way in which their content is touched across different locations and different groups.  You can track services like Digg, Twitter, Facebook etc.  Also, the interactions are broken down over time.

The big benefit of what PostRank can offer is a picture of media importance that combines short term importance (real time relevance) of content with longer term importance (long term authority).  Sound familiar?

Patterns within the data that PostRank have will make it easier to recognise what is a piece of content with long term value, and what is a piece of content that is merely important as timely, and should be replaced in the rankings by a “better” source as soon as one is available.

Google is a company focussed on using technology to deliver specific results. Voting and manual interaction with their algorithm in search are at odds with their core competencies.  They want to use data to refine results so that they can algorithmically understand social signals and provide better search results for customers.

PostRank will add a massive social layer into Google’s data, and I believe that the real value is in the aggregated data of social interactions with content going back 4 years, which can be extrapolated into the future.