After a day or two filled with rumors, YouTube has finally made an official announcement on their acquisition of Fflick, a service that analyzes social media conversations to help discover great new video content. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, though it was estimated to be a deal worth nearly $10 Million.
The original core service of Fflick was related to movies, and recommended films to a user based on the general sentiment of that user's friends. If enough of your friends like a particular movie and are talking about it on Facebook and Twitter, Fflick might suggest you give it a watch.
But that service appears to have already been shut down. If you visit the Fflick home page, you'll see this:
That message would seem to indicate that what we've known Fflick to be has ended. Fflick impressed Google/YouTube with their technology and their personnel, and will be put to use by their new parent company toward some greater Google good.
The YouTube blog post about the acquisition seems to indicate that some of Fflick's technology is going to find it's way into the daily YouTube experience. They talk openly about helping YouTube users connect to videos hosted elsewhere and to the conversations about those videos. People love sharing and discussing their favorite videos through social media–YouTube says that 400 Tweets each minute contain a YouTube link, and over 150 years worth of YouTube video is watched on Facebook every day.
It's also a fair bet to assume that some measure of Fflick's impressive abilities will be leveraged by Google itself. Fflick's biggest asset is it's tech–specifically, the sentiment analysis engine. While Fflick applied that engine to the world of films and movie recommendations, it has applications and potential uses across a whole variety of topics and services.
Search Engine Watch has a few intriguing ideas on how Google might make use of such technology, including Google Places. I can see Google Places easily taking advantage of a system that gauges sentiment on a topic or item and then makes recommendations to other users based on that sentiment. In fact, I can see it changing a service like Places in dramatic ways.
What other ways can you envision Google taking advantage of Fflick's technology?