By oish330 (1261692714|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)
While playing around after our class on real time information, I discovered the search engine uberVu that tracks real time conversation trends on the internet. UberVu will follow a conversation over multiple websites; for example, if you search for "BMW" uberVu will search for blog post comments, Twitter feeds, YouTube comments, and whatever else it can find to track what people are commenting about BMW recently. The other nice feature on this site is that it outputs a graph like the one below showing the trend by date and the sites it originated on. The idea is that you can track the evolution of the online conversation about your search topic.
Search for BMW
I wish that I had found this site over the summer while researching consumers for my job at Unilever. Out of curiosity I tried a relevant search from my summer - "bodyspray" - and look at the results:
Although the trend showed that bodyspray has not been a really popular topic, uberVu still provided a handful of links to where conversations have happened about my topic. These links alone would have been useful direction in researching where guys talk about bodyspray, what they say, and where they are looking for information. It can often be difficult, particularly with the male gender, to figure out what is acceptable in discussions about personal care product usage. Most guys are very uncomfortable with conversing about grooming and without this information it is very difficult to design products properly suited for consumers. This link to uberVu illustrates a conversation of comments from a website that posed the question Women: Do you like the smell of Axe body spray?. This is the kind of information that brand managers are paying thousands of dollars to collect through focus groups, and it's available free on the net… that is if you can find it (and uberVu can).
Another point of note here is that I could add this search to my Google Reader RSS feed through one of the uberVu tools, allowing me to track the conversation consistently. For marketers, this would be awesome to determine a reading of the effectiveness of digital marketing.
Overall, I really enjoy the graphical interface of uberVu. Although I think that their database for search could likely be expanded, I expect this is something they are working on. Also, it seems that their site crashes frequently due to capacity constraints so upgrading servers would be useful. Another thing I really like about uberVu is that there are a few nice tools to integrate their search in to your personal blog, Google Reader on FireFox, or Bookmarklet. These kinds of tools are always appreciated by end users (I may even add an uberVu widget to this blog pretty soon).
In the future a search engine like this could be used for tracking penetration of advertisements and marketing campaigns on the net, a useful tool that does not exist to date.
I give uberVu a score of 8/10 on the Omer enjoyment and usefulness scale.