Today Twitter (news, site) announced the acquisition of an analytics platform called BackType. The plan is to develop tools for Twitter’s publisher partners that will help gauge the impact of social media. 

BackType was previously known for BackTweets, a product that helps publishers track how tweets convert to Web traffic and sales. The company has already stopped taking on new users, however, and officially announced its plan to discontinue the BackType product and API services.

"Joining Twitter gives us the opportunity to bring insight to tens of millions of publishers around the world that are using Twitter to communicate and connect with their audience," reads the official announcement. "We’re also excited to bring our technology (especially Storm) to Twitter where it can have a big impact across the company."

Storm was a distributed and fault-tolerant stream processing system developed by the BackType team, and was once touted as “the Hadoop of real-time processing."

Perks include: 

  • Simple programming model: Storm's programming model reportedly dramatically lowers the complexity for doing real-time processing.
  • Runs any programming language: Even though Storm runs on the JVM (and is written in Clojure), you can use any programming language on top of it, including Ruby and Python.
  • Fault-tolerant: Meaning that to launch a processing topology on Storm, all you have to do is provide a jar containing all your code. Storm distributes the jar and assigns workers across the cluster to execute the topology.
  • Horizontally scalable: All computations are done in parallel. 

We've Come a Long Way 

With these capabilities now in-house, Twitter expands on its business ecosystem-- a growth previously highlighted by several other acquisitions, including TweetDeck, as well as the announcement of Twitter's native photo and video sharing service. 

In this quest for independence, developers are becoming casualties for more than one reason. In addition to suddenly finding themselves without a unique offering, a lack of faith is cropping up among potential customers. 

"Every time one of these startups leaves their customers hanging like this, it makes those customers less likely to trust the next startup that comes around. If you're shutting down, at least have some other reason than you think it is somehow a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be employed by Twitter," noted one commenter when Twitter acquired AdGrok

In this case, it will be interesting to see how social influence measurement startups such as Klout develop their products now that Twitter has pulled these functions into its own arsenal.