Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Bottlenose Is a Web-Based Twitter Client for Power Users

It was nine months ago that Twitter told outside developers they should stop building new Twitter clients. Since then Twitter bought and integrated power-user client TweetDeck, and tried to make all of its own clients simpler and more new-user-friendly.

So into that context arrives Bottlenose, a new Twitter client. It’s a social media dashboard with a bunch of tools to help people search, visualize and build alerts around their Twitter, Facebook and Yammer streams. The service is meant for power users — social media managers, bloggers and people who are brands.

For the moment, Bottlenose is Web-only; it doesn’t even support mobile browsers. And though it does support some other services, most of its features are built around Twitter.

The company wants to add premium tools that do things like build an archive of a person’s social media history, and support multiple accounts from each service. It’s raised $300,000 from investors including Andy Jenks at Stage One Capital and Gil Elbaz of data start-up Factual.

Bottlenose adds some new features and of course leaves out some others from existing Twitter management tools. For instance, I tried repeatedly to click on tweeted replies to get more conversational context, as you would in Twitter’s Web interface. Bottlenose doesn’t support that.

So what’s interesting about Bottlenose, and what can you do with it? Here are the key points:

  • Bottlenose’s natural language processing techniques promise to make its search smarter. The NLP also helps generate trippy clickable trending topic maps called “Sonar” so people can see what’s happening in their streams and nearby without diving directly into their message streams. This is kind of like a personalized news aggregator.
  • Users are the data center. “Crowd computing” is what Bottlenose calls its homemade recipe of JavaScript, HTML5 and Node.js. “We have almost no servers, like two as opposed to thousands,” said Bottlenose CEO Nova Spivack. He promised this won’t be a resource hog, and will actually make Bottlenose very fast, but users will want to see for themselves.
  • Users can build rules to have Bottlenose do things like automatically repost, forward, notify or reply to tweets. For instance, you could write a canned reply to send out to people who follow you on Twitter but don’t have high Klout scores, Spivack said. Or you could save incoming photos to your Dropbox account.
  • Bottlenose doesn’t have access to the Twitter Firehose of Tweets, but rather traces its users’ networks to find users. That avoids spam and irrelevant accounts, Spivack said.
  • Bottlenose users can attach semantic metadata to categorize the messages they send so they’re not just flat text and links. While other services may not support this information, it will be appended using a shortened URL.


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