21st Sept 2011. Twitter has acquired Julpan, a social search company founded by former University of NSW researcher Ori Allon, who is credited with the creation of the Google Orion Search Engine.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however the Sydney Morning Herald has reported Mr Allons’ UNSW PHd supervisor and a Julpan technical adviser, Dr Eric Martin, as saying the deal eclipsed the $40m Twitter paid for TweetDeck in May 2011.
The new add-on will help Twitter better-organize its tweeting stream and make search and updates more relevant.
Ori Allon, an Israeli computer scientist, moved to Australia in 2002 to study at Melbourne’s Monash University. He then moved on to the University of NSW in Sydney, where funded by a grant from the Australian Research Council, he completed his PhD in 2009. Google acquired his patented thesis work called Orion, beating Yahoo and Microsoft in the process. During his time at Google, Ori led a search quality team that integrated the Orion technology and algorithms with the Google search engine. Ori left Google in 2010 to start Julpan.
“I am very proud to announce that Julpan has been acquired by Twitter. We founded Julpan more than a year ago. In that time we’ve created innovative, early-alpha-stage search technology that analyzes social activity across the Web to deliver fresh and relevant content to users.” Allon posted to the Julpan website.
“Twitter houses an industry-leading engineering team that is tackling some of the Internet’s most interesting opportunities. With more than 230 million Tweets per day on every subject imaginable, Twitter gives us a chance to make an even greater contribution toward instantly bringing people closer to what is most meaningful to them. We look forward to joining forces with Twitter’s engineering team to explore how we can best integrate and optimize Julpan’s innovations.”
Allon has been named Director of Engineering at Twitter. It is understood Julpan’s team of 12 will relocate to Twitter’s New York office of these, 5 came from Australian universities.
Julpan is a new type of search engine powered by the social web. Its algorithms crunch social activity like status updates, tweets, facebook likes, and rss feeds right as it’s happening to provide the freshest relevant content. In addition to helping rank content the social and realtime web, it aims to understand the context of a query at any given moment. For example, if you searched for “london” during the recent London riots our search engine will automatically adapt and present you with “london riots” results.