We’re all accustomed to using search engines such as Google Inc. (GOOG) (GOOGL), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) or Bing to browse on the Web, but a new search engine called ttwick aims to bridge the gap between search and social media.
What is ttwick?
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Ttwick is a real-time search engine for social and self-published content, local daily deals and news summaries. It claims it gives users “a more human and relevant search experience.”
“Ttwick breaks the paradigm of boring links that don’t give you meaning,” Sanchez told IBTimes. “In the past, when most of the content was implicitly curated by webmasters, the page rank algorithm was doing a great job. Page rank still does a good job on some aspects of search, but when you type something [into] Google, Bing or Yahoo and the top five links on a page send you to related pages in Wikipedia, then why do you need the search engine?”
Sanchez tapped his experience as a Wall Street senior quant at American International Group Inc. (NYSE:AIG), Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) and Lehman Brothers to build the new search technology at the heart of ttwick, which he claims allows users to discover trends and forecast consumer behavior in real time. Sanchez cofounded ttwick with his business partner, Ralf Voellmer, who also previously worked at Deutsche Bank.
The name “ttwick” is derived from putting a social media “twist” on a market “tick.”
“I built this technology by drawing analogies from financial structuring and trading,” Sanchez said. “With my domain expertise in finance, I started to see data in the Web as one big ‘unstructured data’ problem.”
Sanchez said his 20-plus year career on Wall Street and in engineering ended with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. A few months later, he realized that data scientists and quants have a lot in common and began using approaches similar to what he did in finance to build ttwick.
“Google is a 15-year-old platform that’s being used in the 21st century,” Sanchez said. “What we need is a better search engine, a semantic search engine, and stratification within the search universe.”
How ttwick works
On the business-to-consumer side, ttwick currently has three different platforms: ttwick social search, a search engine for social content; ttwick deals, a search engine for daily deals; and Blacksheep, a search engine for anything.
ttwick social search
Ttwick social search was in its alpha stage for nearly two and a half years and was released in its early beta phase in May 2014. The website is currently available to use by invitation only, and potential users can go to www.ttwick.com to register.
“What we’re trying to present right away is capturing the comments, the messages, the pictures and the videos that people are posting,” Sanchez said. “The things that are resonating with the public right now. It’s almost like giving power to the people and getting your information from the crowd.”
The startup also has a ttwick deals platform designed to make it easier for users to search for daily consumer deals by price, discount percentage or proximity from more than 20 vendors, including Groupon, Living Social or Tippr, to help users avoid having search through each specific vendor's website.
“Ttwick deals is a location-based search engine for local deals in the U.S., but in the next two months, ttwick deals will be available in Canada, Mexico, the UK, Brazil Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Basically, ttwick deals allows you to discover the hottest deals around you, sourced from multiple vendors.”
Ttwick daily deals is available for download from the Google Play Store and will be available for iOS users as an app later this summer.
Ttwick's Blacksheep platform “is a search engine for anything.” The platform is currently in its alpha stage and is expected to move to its beta phase in approximately six months.
“For example,” Sanchez said, “Blacksheep can be used in the corporate intranet to make sense of the tons of unstructured data that take the form of Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, word documents, PDFs and more.”
Meanwhile, on the business-to-business side, ttwick uses public data taken from news, social media, blogs and e-commerce sites to forecast the outcome of events, ranging from presidential elections, earnings forecasts and box office revenues.
“On the B2B side, our analytics take data from many sources, creating correlations and knowledge graphs where corporate clients can derive powerful insights for their operations,” Sanchez said.
Ttwick aims to help companies or hedge funds discover trends and forecast consumer behavior in real time using big data analytics. Sanchez said the company has also applied its algorithms to forecast specific stock market events.
“Derived from public sources of data, we have accurately identified a tradable increase in volatility around certain events, days ahead of the actual increase," Sanchez said. “We also correctly forecasted earnings and market volatility for a group of stocks that trade on top line revenue and user acquisition in the U.S.”
The chief executive said ttwick has correctly forecast earnings and market volatility for a group of stocks, such as Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN), that trade on top line revenue and user acquisition in the United States. Ttwick back-tested the data and performed real-time exercises.
The company started tracking the variables that affect natural gas inventories in the United States to see if the company’s artificial intelligence can forecast the weekly energy reports from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (USEIA).
“Our angle is lots of machine learning, linked data, cross-correlation, graph and news analysis ... [to glean] a digital footprint of transactions from public sources and good-old domain expertise in financial trading and structuring,” Sanchez said. “It’s like putting a big puzzle together and acting when you more or less see the big picture.”
ttwick deals on Samsung Smart TV
What’s next for ttwick? Sanchez said the company is partnering with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX: 005930) and its ttwick deals platform will be available on the tech giant’s Smart TV as an application soon.
“We have ambitious plans to become the search engine of choice for the ‘real-time’ generation. In order for this to happen, we need to keep improving our products, build a loyal user base, and keep innovating, innovating, innovating,” Sanchez said. “Developing the right relationships with companies will also allow us to build the infrastructure we need to fully realize our vision.”
Currently, hedge fund Elliot Management Associates and media buy and advertising group Varick Media are testing ttwick’s social media and e-commerce analytics to understand trends and gain insights from data.
“From the start, we knew it was an extremely ambitious idea to launch a search engine,” Sanchez said, “but we expect to compete with the big guys using these new technologies and ranking algorithms instead of the proven search technology from the last century.”