This week, Microsoft presented a number of research projects at TechFest, and one very interesting concept was ViralSearch. This system is a platform that shows how viral content is created and distributed. ViralSearch is not yet in use for regular users, and according to Microsoft, there are no plans to integrate it in their services for now. However, the concept is very useful for those who are interested in analyzing how viral content mover over the web.
Microsoft’s ViralSearch uses Twitter to obtain information and creates a visual representation of how data moves. The graphical representation looks like a tree where a photo, video or other information is traced throughout each generation (each share) and by adding up how many generations the information has been running, ViralSearch can show how influential it was.
What exactly is ViralSeach and how does it work?
Microsoft has created this tool in order to research how viral content is formed and to obtain data on what type of media is most likely to go viral. On Microsoft’s Research website we can find a short description of what ViralSearch is:
An analysis of almost a billion information cascades on Twitter news, videos, and photos has produced the first quantitative notion of whether something has indeed gone viral, thereby enabling further research into topic experts, trending topics, and viral-incident metrics.
So what ViralSearch does is it creates an interactive timeline of events where stories are tracked from the point of origin and all the way to its last share. The data gathered allows experts to better understand how information moves on the web and how users react to different types of media or to different content.
The video presentation shows us how ViralSearch works and what it can do. Users can search for stories or any other content, or even by user and see how far their stories have went. Therefore, you can see who are the most influential people on Twitter and who likes their stories.
For the moment, ViralSearch is limited to Twitter, but if it can be integrated with other social engines, it can paint an even better picture of how information flows on the Internet.
How about privacy?
In terms of privacy, ViralSearch accesses public information, for example your tweets or your public profile. This is not much different then Facebook or any other social platform, but where it stands out is that it can show exactly how successful a person or how information move. This openness a new door in how we understand information flow. What this meas is that advertisers can see what type of data is most important to the user and how they can spread it more efficiently. In a word, ViralSearch can be the best marketing tool ever.