Today EverySignal, the latest company to emerge from technology incubator Science, launched to make sure people never miss an important milestone from their social networks. Backed by a natural language processing and machine-learning technology, the platform analyzes a user’s Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and highlights milestones like birthdays, new jobs, and popular discussions in a daily email and searchable online feed.
EverySignal co-founder Derek Merrill was formerly the founder of mobile advertising network MoVoxx, which was acquired by Adenyo in 2010, and Infreeda, a directory assistance phone platform that was acquired by AT&T in 2006. Science founder and former Myspace CEO Mike Jones was on MoVoxx’s board of advisors, and brought Merrill and his team into the Science fold early in 2012 to build out the product.
Merrill said he launched the company to help the average social media user sift through over 30,000 posts per month from an average of 380 Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts, highlighting “important life moments” across social networks while cutting down on the data overload problem.
“It’s a trend that we really started to notice at large. It felt like it was a problem that already existed and was only going to continue to get worse,” Merrill said. “Search engines is a view to the world as the whole, but really your social networks is where you have greater relevancy because really you’ve hand-picked these people.”
Users start by connecting their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, and then EverySignal’s algorithm searches through updates daily to let users view conversations and events across 10 categories, from birthdays to weddings to promotions. Users can view the updates by category, or search keywords to uncover updates across their networks. The web platform displays updates in a feed, and lets users click on an update to bring up the original update on Facebook or LinkedIn.
EverySignal sends users a daily summary of what’s going on across their social networks, and for anyone who wants to stay informed on a particular topic, they can create Google Alerts-style email notifications, for example getting an email when anyone mentions weddings. The company reports that during its private beta, EverySignal’s daily emails had almost a 70 percent open rate. “We like to think of it as Google Alerts for your social feeds,” Merrill said.
One might argue that social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook already have their own tools to surface important updates, from LinkedIn’s update emails highlighting contacts with new jobs, to Facebook’s birthday reminders, and updates about life milestones like weddings. Not to mention services like socialmention, which lets users search social networks and create Google Alert-style notifications, though it’s not limited to a user’s networks, rather all updates.
Merrill said they’re not trying to add to the noise of social networks, but rather surface the updates that people miss when they don’t have a chance to check a given network, or to uncover updates not displayed in their feed. He said he believes EverySignal is complementary to Facebook, and they’re working directly with the teams at LinkedIn and Facebook.
“More and more these social networks are trying to find those important updates and then package them and send you a reminder,” he said. “Not only is it valuable for you to know those things are happening so you can take action on them, but it brings you back into the product itself.”
Merrill said they’ll be adding Twitter soon, with other social networks to come, and they are also working on mobile apps. While right now it’s a free service, Merrill said they’ll be launching a pro version that will allow service providers to find conversations around specific topics and offer help or advice. He was quick to say that they won’t feature advertising in the daily emails though.
While potential users might think a social network to aggregate their social networks is overkill, the goal of EverySignal is to give people a high level overview of what’s happening. When it’s as quick as checking a daily email, it can be a helpful way to remember things like birthdays, or congratulate someone on a new job. Finding a way to monetize in an unobtrusive way will likely be the biggest challenge, and maintaining its relevance as Facebook and LinkedIn offer their own social search and discovery tools.