Summize what's hot on the Web

* Summize automatically analyzes the blogosphere, reviews portals, and Twitter

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If you are trying to track what's hot on a real time basis then you have to check out Summize. Summize automatically analyzes the blogosphere, reviews portals (such as Amazon), and Twitter to identify trends and the sentiments associated with postings.

The idea is to make mining this huge dynamic pool of commentary not just easier but easy. As the company explains: “… finding reviews is not so hard as reading reviews - we call this review fatigue: there are just too many reviews to read them all. The surmised and summarized Summize experience relieves this drudge, as you can see by clicking merrily around the site.”

Summize’s blogosphere and review portal analyses include at the time of writing, so the company claims, 47,269,384 opinions. What the service does is crawl their list of sources and parse out commonly used phrases (e.g. “Iron Man”) to identify topics along with the attitudinally relevant words (such as “good,” “bad” and “helpful”). The posting or item’s topic is then rated on a scale from “wretched” through “bad,” “so-so,” and “swell” to “great.” Aggregating the results from all related items gives the topic a profile.

For example, Summize’s analysis of the blogosphere response to the movie “Iron Man” included 138 opinions and determined there were 56% positive sentiments, 25% negative, and 19% so-so sentiments.

Summize provides a really effective graphical presentation of the results included heat graphs of the current Overall Opinion and the historical Overall Buzz. Other analyses for a given topic include Overall Sentiments (the most common terms with sentimental relevance), and a list of related topics called Discover. Summize also groups related topics so you can browse, for example, the sentiments regarding other movies.

While most of the Summize results shown on the home page are related to movies, books, and music you can search for any topic and, if it is at all popular, usually find something. Try searching for “Canon 20D” (a prosumer digital SLR camera) and Summize returns 42 sources concerning the actual camera as well as accessories that include 707 unique sentiments with an overall rating of 84% positive.

Summize’s Twitter search feature provides a basic answer to what’s being said as well as a sentiment analysis that is fascinating. The sentiment analysis includes a grid showing a square for each related tweet found and colored according to its sentiment rating.

What isn’t always clear is what the results really mean. For example, “barak obama” is rated as “great” while “obama” only rates “swell.” Interestingly “hillary clinton” and the misspelled “hilary clinton” rate as “swell” and “bad” respectively – perhaps her critics tend to misspell her name?

Summize also provides a search API to use their results in other applications and services.

I have one criticism of Summize: Why is there no single jumping off page for all of their projects? For example, if you go to their home page there’s the Twitter basic search, but no links to the Twitter sentiment search.

Summize is breaking new ground with their services. What’s now needed is a deeper analysis of what the results mean, because without that knowledge you’ll have to spend time digging deeper into the data to understand what it means. That said, I’ve seen nothing else that does what Summize is offering.

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