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The end of AlchemyAPI

Since the very beginning we’ve competed head to head with AlchemyAPI. We have always had a lot in common with them; from our initial mission of bringing NLP to the masses to launching features and products with similar goals and objectives. Even though we wouldn’t have admitted it then, we looked up to Alchemy in many ways.

The news of their acquisition by IBM meant a couple of things: 1. Our biggest competitor was going to be incorporated into a much larger platform and ecosystem and 2. The NLP-as-a-service market started to gather even more hype. But more so, the acquisition opened an opportunity for us to gather some of that market share left by the fallout.

What’s happened since then has been interesting. We hear them mentioned less and less in our sales calls and we’ve noticed more and more customers make the move to us over moving to Watson/Bluemix/Knowledge Studio…whatever it is you need to move to 😉

When we ask our ex-AlchemyAPI users why they’ve decided to move to us over sticking with IBM one particular aspect rings true; the experience we provide is better than working with IBM Watson.

When they talk about experience they refer to some key points;

  • Support
  • Developer experience
  • Flexibility
  • Transparent pricing*
  • Ease of use

* I dare you try and figure out how much your monthly spend will be on a Watson service!

The deprecation of the service

Yes all of this was inevitable and to be honest we were surprised it took this long. AlchemyAPI had built a strong brand and for a lot of the reasons mentioned above it made sense for IBM to hold on to that Alchemy branding and to try and win over their user base.

In the last couple of weeks IBM announced they’re going to kill the AlchemyAPI services by deprecating the AlchemyLanguage and AlchemyNews products. It’s being touted as a rebrand and for the most part it is. However, there are some key elements you need to be aware of in both products before you consider making the move to Watson.

So what’s actually happening?

IBM are shutting down two core AlchemyAPI services, AlchemyLanguage and AlchemyNews. As of the 7th of April you can’t create any new instances of either Alchemy service and support will cease on the 7th of April 2018 for both products. IBM’s advice is to switch to one of their other existing services, Watson NLU or Watson Language Classifier for AlchemyLanguage users and the Watson Discovery News service for AlchemyNews users.

As we already mentioned, this was all expected to happen eventually and all seems pretty straightforward, right? Not really…

What you need to know

We’ve been investigating this for the last couple of days and we’re still a little confused as to what a typical migration for users will look like. Figuring out which of the 120+ services on Bluemix you need is hard, deciding which Watson service you should migrate to is confusing  and it’s really not clear what elements of AlchemyAPI they are keeping and what exactly they’re dumping in the bin.

Even though they’ve made the effort to phase out the Alchemy services with the customer in mind, in our opinion they haven’t made working with Bluemix and/or Watson easy from the get go, no matter which service you’re using. This means existing Alchemy users are going to be faced with a number of challenges: changes in pricing, flexibility and accessibility and the deprecation of some core features.

1. Using Watson/Bluemix; have they lost the built-for-developers feel?

Access and ease of use

At AYLIEN we obsess over the “Developer Experience”. We take steps to make it as easy as possible for our users to get up and running with the service. Our documentation is clear, complete and easy to understand and navigate. We provide SDKs for 7 different programming languages. We have a robust and fully functional free product offering and we do everything we can to make even our paid plans accessible to development teams of all shapes and sizes.

The accessibility of our tech is something we feel very strongly about at AYLIEN and that’s something we believe was important to the AlchemyAPI team too. However, it’s difficult to say the same about IBM. We can’t comment on the details of the strategy but from what we hear from speaking with our users and the accessibility of Bluemix and Watson as a whole, things are looking a little grim for developers hoping to use the Watson language services.

  • You need a Bluemix account to access the Watson services which is only available on a 30 day trial
  • For most of the Watson services you’ll only find 3 – 5 SDKs available
  • The pricing structure of many of the Watson services is extremely prohibitive and down right confusing (more on that below)

Flexibility and support

What we hear time and time again from our customers is working with us is just easier. Put simply they don’t want to deal with a beast of an enterprise like IBM. They want to know that if they have a feature request or feedback they’ll be listened to, they don’t want to jump through hoops and engage in a drawn out sales process in order to use the service, they want to know that the tech they’re using is constantly evolving and the team behind it are passionate about advancing it, but above all, they want the reassurance that if something goes wrong they can pick up the phone and talk to someone who cares.

We do everything we can to make sure our customers are getting the most of our APIs. We’ll run on-boarding calls with new users, we consult with our users on how they can integrate with their solutions and from time to time we’ll work directly with our customers to customize existing features to their specific needs. This level of service is only possible because of our ability to stay flexible and agile.

AYLIEN Text Analysis API

Sample support thread – Yes our founder still handles some support queries

2. Pricing; what’s going to happen your monthly cost?

If you do plan on sitting down to figure out how your cost might change after your move to Watson we recommend grabbing a coffee and snack to get you through it. We have created some comparison tables below to provide a quick overview of some of the savings you can make by migrating to AYLIEN over Watson. They are broken down by service and describe what you should expect to pay as an AlchemyLanguage or AlchemyNews user moving to the Watson services vs what you would pay with AYLIEN.

AlchemyLanguage users

Note: Watson NLU and NLC services are charged on a tiered basis based on the number of Natural Language Units you use. Like our pricing it’s volume based so we were able to compare some price points based on example volumes.

Pricing example:

Hits / NLU units AYLIEN Watson Saving
180,000 $199 $540 $441
1,000,000 $649 $1,500 $851
2,000,000 $649 $2,500 $1,851

AlchemyNews users

Pricing Example:

Note: Watson Discovery News and AYLIEN News API are priced a little differently. Our pricing is based on how many stories you collect and analyze but we don’t care how many queries you make and Watson Discovery News charges per query made plus enrichments. In Watson Discovery News however there is a limit of 50 results (stories) per query which means it’s not too difficult to compare the pricing based on an example number of stories collected.

Stories AYLIEN Watson Saving
100,000 $211 $200 $-11
1,000,000 $1,670 $2,000 $851
2,000,000 $2,871 $4,000 $1,129


– We’re running an Alchemy Amnesty offer –

We know that many of Alchemy’s hardcore fans are looking for an alternative that is just as user friendly and powerful, which is why we’re running an Alchemy Amnesty: we’re giving away 2 months free on any of our plans to any customer moving from AlchemyAPI to AYLIEN. In order to avail of the offer signup here and just drop us an email to sales@aylien.com.

Alchemy Amnesty

3. Features; what’s going and what’s staying?

The AlchemyLanguage features are being incorporated into Watson NLU and Watson NLC while the AlchemyNews product is being incorporated into a larger product named Watson Discovery News.

As part of the migration however, there are a number of changes to the feature set which we’ve set out below. We’ve only listed the features that are either changing or being canned altogether.

AlchemyLanguage

Feature Watson NLU AYLIEN Text API
Entity & Concept Extraction
Sentiment Analysis
Language Detection
Image Tagging
(separate service)
Related Phrases
(separate service)
Summarization
Hashtag Suggestion
Article Extraction
Semantic Labelling
Microformat Extraction
Date Extraction


AlchemyNews

Feature Watson Discovery News AYLIEN News API
Customized Sources
Source Rank
(Blekko)

(Alexa)
Industry Taxonomies 1 2
Languages 1 6
Summarization
Clustering
Social Stats
Similar Articles/Stories
Deduplication


Don’t just take our word for it, make your own mind up. All the details you need to start testing our service for each of our solutions is listed below.

Text API

News API

Final thoughts

Users are moving to AYLIEN for a variety of reasons that we outlined above. The primary drivers are ease of use, flexibility, support, feature set and pricing. If you’re dreading making the move to IBM and you miss the experience of dealing with a dev friendly team, we’ve got you covered ;).

1

0

Intro

With our News API, our goal is to make the world’s news content easier to query, just like a database. Additionally, we leverage Machine Learning to process, normalize and analyze this content to make it easier for our users to gain access to rich and high quality metadata, and use powerful filtering capabilities that will ultimately help you to source and analyze the most relevant content for your own specific needs.

To this end, we have just launched a couple of cool new features – NOT queries and Canonical URL Extraction. You can read more about these features – which are now also available in our News API SDKs – below.

New feature: NOT queries

Our News API offers the ability to source news content based on a combination of user-defined search parameters. By defining precisely what you want to see within the body, title or metadata of a news story – whether it be specific keywords, entities, sentiment, image/video count or social media performance – our API makes it easy for you to do so.

In many cases, the content you are not sourcing can be just as important as the content you are sourcing.

But what if you want to exclude certain keywords, entities, sentiment, image/video counts or social metrics from your results? In many cases, the content you are not sourcing can be just as important as the content you are sourcing, and this is exactly why we’ve added NOT queries to our News API.

NOT queries give our users the ability to ignore certain stories by adding exclusion rules to almost any parameter when calling the News API.

Here’s an example:

We recently looked at our monthly media round-up using the News API and wanted to uncover how much of the news content published within the Law, Politics & Government category mentioned Donald Trump. By using a NOT query, we immediately rejected all stories within this category that mentioned the US President. The chart below visualizes our results;

Volume of stories published: Law, Government & Politics with/without Trump


The red volume above represents all 163,000+ stories published in this category in February 2017. The yellow volume represents all stories from this category that did not mention Donald Trump. The total: 48,000 stories.

This means that around 70% of all stories in this category mentioned the US President, but more importantly it shows us, in a simple way, how NOT queries can be used to exclude the content we don’t want to see and return only the content that is relevant to our specific use case.

Using NOT queries

Using a NOT query is really quite simple. All you need to do is add an exclamation mark ‘!’ before a parameter. For example, let’s say we do not want to source any stories from the USA;

!source.locations.country[]=US

As another example, we can exclude all stories written by a specific author;

!author.name[]=”Jane Doe”

It really is that simple. Just add the ‘!’ and that parameter will be excluded.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 18.22.46

Naturally, some parameters don’t suit NOT queries. For example sort_by, per_page or sort_direction. To see which parameters support NOT queries, you can always check our News API documentation.

Benefit

The benefit that NOT queries bring is the ability to create more precise search queries than ever before. By combining them with your regular queries, you can create a search that pinpoints content to match your specific requirements.

Put simply, your search queries can now be tailored not only to include exactly what keywords, entities and sources you want, but they can also exclude those that you don’t want – giving you more targeted and relevant results than ever before.

Example query

To show you an example of NOT queries in action, we’re going to search for the following;

Stories with titles containing entity ‘Samsung’ but not mentioning entity ‘Apple’, published in the past day, in the English language.

Here’s our query;

And here’s a sample of what the JSON results for this query look like;


{
  "stories": [
    {
      "id": 30280136,
      "title": "Throwback: Samsung \"Taylor\" Windows Phone Prototype",
      "body": "In mid-2010, I was one of the lucky few to get a prototype Windows phone, the Samsung Taylor. Over six years later, it still works fine. And today, it represents an interesting slice of time in the life of Microsoft’s now-failed but wonderful mobile platform.\n\nAs I recall it, the Taylor was one of two hardware prototypes that Microsoft carted around in early 2010 as it showed off Windows Phone 7 Series, as this platform was first called. Also, there were basically two sets of each, as the software had to be specially—ahem—tailored (I’m here all week, folks) to support the video-out capabilities needed for public demonstrations. So some had the production builds on them, and some were compiled for demo purposes.\n\nMy first hands-on moment with Taylor—and that other Windows phone device, whose name now escapes me, plus of course the Windows Phone OS—came in May 2010, when I visited the Microsoft campus. I was led into a dark basement room in a secret location and was able to spend two days documenting every screen in the system—with photos and via an incredible set of notes—which I used as the basis to start writing the book that became Windows Phone 7 Secrets.\n\nBut I waited two months until I had a phone of my own. Finally, in mid-July, I received a Samsung Taylor from Microsoft, which I could use for my writings about Windows phone, in the book, and on the web. It helped me complete Windows Phone Secrets—which I did in late July, literally the day before my family left for our home swap—and I used the phone internationally on that trip, in Germany and France.\n\nMicrosoft warned me at the time that the device I’d received did not represent shipping hardware, though the underlying software was near-complete. I didn’t care. I was in love.\n\nHere’s how I described it at the time.\n\nWhen Microsoft finally presented me with a Windows Phone prototype that I could take home and use out in the real world, they were curiously embarrassed by the device, which I was told repeatedly didn’t represent “ship quality” hardware, and wasn’t indicative of the thin, light, and gorgeous hardware that’s really going to sell to consumers. They shouldn’t be so down on it. The prototype is fine.\n\nThe developer device is a Samsung Taylor SGH-i707, and it comes with all the hardware one would expect given the Windows Phone 7 required  Microsoft was also apologetic about the device’s screen, which displays at the lower of the two possible Windows Phone 7 resolutions, 480 x 320 (HVGA) instead of 800 x 480 (WVGA). Then you turn the thing on and just laugh out loud—I told you there’d be moments like this—because the display is simply gorgeous. In fact, it’s largely identical to the excellent Zune HD screen, featuring the same resolution and the same superior OLED quality. (The Samsung screen is much bigger than the Zune HD screen, however.) Colors appear to jump off of this screen, and the blacks are so black, they almost appear infinite. Did I mention this was a gorgeous screen? Oh yes. It is.\n\nAs a non-ship-level device, there are ports and plastic covers, and holes all over this device. There’s a huge 5-megapixel camera that sticks out of the back by a tiny amount, another embarrassment to Microsoft. (Hey, it takes great high-resolution photos and video.) The headphone jack and USB connection port both have awful plastic covers that are hard to pry off when you’ve just cut your fingernails. A similar cover appears over the mini-SD slot, though that’s no biggie since no Windows Phone 7 device will ship with such a memory port anyway. (Through a combination of internal and SD-based memory, the prototype sports about 8 GB of storage.)\n\nThere are speakers on the top and bottom of the phone—take that iPhone, and every other Apple mobile product—and, if I’m not mistaken, microphones on both the top and bottom too. Oddly, there’s a front-facing camera that isn’t connected to anything.\n\nAll of the required buttons are present, including Back, Start, and Search across the front, a dedicated power/sleep button on the side, volume up and down and, glory be to God, a camera button. This button is particularly genius, because it connects to a new software feature in Windows Phone that Microsoft calls “pocket to picture.” So even if you’ve locked your phone, you can tap this button and take a picture, almost instantaneously. There’s no fumbling with the device’s lock screen and passcode, and then finding and launching the camera app. You know, like you have to do on an iPhone. Oops, the moment already passed: The story of your life with iPhone.\n\nThe system’s performance is generally amazing. It awakes instantly, of course, and navigation through the various phone UIs is fluid and fast. I have had some performance issues around media playback and Zune software syncing, but then maybe I shouldn’t have been trying to play a 720 x 480 DVD rip of “Avatar” in the first place. (Shocker: It plays.) I haven’t yet had a chance to test any full-screen XNA games, but from what I can see, this should be a decent game player.\n\nI [also] don’t have a firm handle on battery life, and of course we can’t judge Windows Phone on this prototype. In regular usage, the phone doesn’t last the day, basically, and I’ve been leaving it plugged in while writing for the most part. It does have a removable battery, naturally, and because it’s a GSM-type device, I was able to pull out my iPhone 3GS’s SIM and just make the switch. (Irony alert: My iPhone 3GS reports a stronger 3G signal in my house than does the Windows Phone device. I suspect Windows Phone is more accurate given that I’m in a dead zone. And this is after the software update.)\n\nOverall, the prototype isn’t all that interesting aesthetically but then it’s not the car crash that Microsoft seems to believe it is either. Their over-the-top reaction to this device makes me believe that we’re going to see some pretty stunning hardware come this fall’s launch. I can’t wait to see what’s available then.\n\nLooking at it today, the Samsung Taylor is small and stubby, with a very small screen by today’s standards. The little covers on the USB, headphone, and microSD ports remain ridiculous.\n\nThe version of Windows Phone OS on there—6414.PPEscrow, a pre-release version—will never be updated. Microsoft offered to update it to the final shipping version of the OS, but I declined, and the device was subsequently never upgraded to “NoDo,” the first major upgrade. (The one that added Copy and Paste.) The firmware, amusingly, is revision number 1.0.0.0.\n\nThe OS is familiar but dated. It features the empty space next to the Start tiles that bothered so many people and was later removed. Yahoo! Mail is prominently displayed on Start. The store is still called Marketplace, and the Music + Videos hub is still Zune. (As I recall, you had to sync this device with the Zune PC software, as you did with a Zune music player.)\n\nAnyway, I love that this thing still works. And I still feel the pull of that year, when Windows Phone was still new, and special, and full of promise.",
      "summary": {
        "sentences": [
          "As I recall it, the Taylor was one of two hardware prototypes that Microsoft carted around in early 2010 as it showed off Windows Phone 7 Series, as this platform was first called.",
          "My first hands-on moment with Taylor—and that other Windows phone device, whose name now escapes me, plus of course the Windows Phone OS—came in May 2010, when I visited the Microsoft campus.",
          "When Microsoft finally presented me with a Windows Phone prototype that I could take home and use out in the real world, they were curiously embarrassed by the device, which I was told repeatedly didn’t represent “ship quality” hardware, and wasn’t indicative of the thin, light, and gorgeous hardware that’s really going to sell to consumers.",
          "The developer device is a Samsung Taylor SGH-i707, and it comes with all the hardware one would expect given the Windows Phone 7 required  Microsoft was also apologetic about the device’s screen, which displays at the lower of the two possible Windows Phone 7 resolutions, 480 x 320 (HVGA) instead of 800 x 480 (WVGA).",
          "This button is particularly genius, because it connects to a new software feature in Windows Phone that Microsoft calls “pocket to picture.”"
        ]
      },
      "source": {
        "id": 2045,
        "name": "Thurrott",
        "title": "thurrott.com/",
        "links_in_count": 102,
        "home_page_url": "https://www.thurrott.com/",
        "domain": "thurrott.com",
        "logo_url": "https://www.thurrott.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg",
        "locations": [],
        "scopes": [],
        "rankings": {
          "alexa": [
            {
              "rank": 26377,
              "fetched_at": "2016-12-03T15:11:17Z"
            },
            {
              "rank": 22524,
              "country": "IN",
              "fetched_at": "2016-12-03T15:11:17Z"
            },
            {
              "rank": 66037,
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            },
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              "rank": 27567,
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            },
            {
              "rank": 11485,
              "country": "US",
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              "rank": 29372,
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        }
      },
      "author": {
        "id": 673346,
        "name": "Paul Thurrott"
      },
      "entities": {
        "title": [
          {
            "text": "Samsung",
            "score": 0.9418449337715811,
            "types": [
              "Agent",
              "Organisation",
              "Company"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/Samsung"
            },
            "indices": [
              [
                11,
                17
              ]
            ]
          },
          {
            "text": "Windows Phone",
            "score": 0.9998067957273178,
            "types": [
              "Software",
              "product"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/Windows_Phone"
            },
            "indices": [
              [
                28,
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              ]
            ]
          },
          {
            "text": "Taylor \"Windows Phone Prototype",
            "types": [
              "Person"
            ],
            "indices": []
          }
        ],
        "body": [
          {
            "text": "Shocker",
            "score": 0.9999978665487127,
            "types": [
              "TelevisionShow",
              "product"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/Kamen_Rider"
            },
            "indices": [
              [
                4917,
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            ]
          },
          {
            "text": "France",
            "score": 0.9999999990855031,
            "types": [
              "Country",
              "Place"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/France"
            },
            "indices": [
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          {
            "text": "7 Series",
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            "types": [
              "Automobile",
              "product"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/BMW_7_Series"
            },
            "indices": [
              [
                397,
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              ]
            ]
          },
          {
            "text": "Zune HD",
            "score": 1,
            "types": [
              "product"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/Zune_HD"
            },
            "indices": [
              [
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          {
            "text": "XNA",
            "score": 1,
            "types": [
              "Software",
              "product"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/Microsoft_XNA"
            },
            "indices": [
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              ]
            ]
          },
          {
            "text": "iPhone",
            "score": 0.9999999999940883,
            "types": [
              "InformationAppliance",
              "product"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/IPhone"
            },
            "indices": [
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          },
          {
            "text": "USB",
            "score": 1,
            "types": [
              "Organisation"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/USB"
            },
            "indices": [
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          {
            "text": "Microsoft",
            "score": 0.6256516726461149,
            "types": [
              "Software",
              "product",
              "Organisation"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/Microsoft_Windows"
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              [
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            ]
          },
          {
            "text": "Samsung",
            "score": 0.9957766865519634,
            "types": [
              "Agent",
              "Organisation",
              "Company"
            ],
            "links": {
              "dbpedia": "http://dbpedia.org/resource/Samsung"
            },
            "indices": [
              [
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                84
              ],
              [
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              ],
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            ]
          },
          {
            "text": "Zune",
            "score": 1,
            "types": [
              "product"
            ],
            "links": {
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      "body": "As 2016 ends, smartphone enthusiasts have much to look out for in 2017, including flagship smartphones.  Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are two phones that will determine the companies’ fortunes in the next year as both companies will have something to prove with their phones.\n\nFollowing the Note 7 scandal, Samsung needs the Galaxy S8 to be a success while LG needs to make up for the low sales numbers of the G5 in 2016. Both of the smartphones are expected to come with a slew of rumored features such as an iris scanner and bezel-less displays.\n\nLet’s compare the two and find out, based on rumored features, how they fare:\n\nSecurity Features:  In terms of making your phones secure, both Samsung and LG are doing their bit. While Samsung is expected to endow the Galaxy S8 with a display embedded fingerprint scanner, the LG G6 is expected to come out with an Iris scanner, similar to one on the Galaxy Note 7.\n\nBut LG has lent its own touch to the iris scanner — while Note 7 used a secondary scanner dedicated to iris scanning, LG is expected to combine two cameras in a single module, which will let both function using the same lens, which is expected to enhance the response rate of the camera.\n\nProcessor and RAM: While the S8 is expected to come with a Snapdragon 835 processor with 6/8GB RAM, the G6 is expected to be slightly less powerful with a Snapdragon 830 processor and 4GB RAM.\n\nDisplay: Both phones are expected to flaunt OLED displays with some differences. While the Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to come with an edge-to-edge full OLED display with an all-glass body, the G6 is expected to have a full glass display with a metal back.\n\nWaterproof certification: Both phones are expected to be water-resistant, but while the G6 is expected to have mild water-resistance like the iPhone 7 owing to its modular design, the S8 is expected to highly water-resistant with an IP68 certification.\n\nBoth phones are expected to launch at MWC 2017.",
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          "Following the Note 7 scandal, Samsung needs the Galaxy S8 to be a success while LG needs to make up for the low sales numbers of the G5 in 2016.",
          "Let’s compare the two and find out, based on rumored features, how they fare:\n\nSecurity Features:  In terms of making your phones secure, both Samsung and LG are doing their bit.",
          "While Samsung is expected to endow the Galaxy S8 with a display embedded fingerprint scanner, the LG G6 is expected to come out with an Iris scanner, similar to one on the Galaxy Note 7.",
          "While the Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to come with an edge-to-edge full OLED display with an all-glass body, the G6 is expected to have a full glass display with a metal back."
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      "title": "Best Samsung Galaxy S7 cases you can buy right now",
      "body": "For some, covering your brand new Samsung Galaxy S7 in a protective case is like hiding it from the world. While not necessarily true, we get the point: you want to enjoy the stellar design and the smooth edges at all times.\n\nBut, the thing about phones is, they come along with us everywhere. And sometimes, everywhere won't treat the S7 as nicely as you do. In those situations, slapping on a case is a little easier to swallow.\n\nWe've put together a guide to show you the best cases available for the Samsung Galaxy S7. And, while some of the best are manufactured by Samsung itself, there's an ever growing number of other impressive options from companies like Speck and Dog & Bone too.\n\nThese are the cases that do their best not to turn this gorgeous phone into an ugly one. Some of them even provide additional functionality that isn't possible with just the phone alone.\n\nWe're constantly on the lookout for new additions to our roundup, but if you have a favorite, please let us know in the comments.\n\nNote: we've ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing.\n\nIf the crop of Samsung Galaxy S7 cases is anything to go by, transparent bumpers are the clear winner. The Crystal Mixx is a fine attempt at see-through security, with its ultra-thin design adding plenty of protection on the corners. The case also raises up towards the top and bottom to guard against screen-down drops.\n\nThe end result is hardly rare on the market, but the Crystal Mixx is pure minimalism.\n\nIt may have cut its teeth by developing military-grade phone cases in the past, but this new case from Griffin is as ultra-thin as it is protective.\n\nCompletely transparent it may be, but the Reveal has tough rubber edges tech-tested to help the S7 survive bumps and drops. Perhaps just as useful is the tactile feel of the Reveal, which makes the Samsung Galaxy S7 a lot easier to hold stably while still being a cinch to slip out of a pocket.\n\nCould do with more color options\n\nNo one wants a case that takes away from the precisely-engineered curves of the Samsung Galaxy S7. But this one actually adds to them. This metallic textured case is shaped like an hourglass and adds a grip onto the sides for added stability.\n\nA wallet case, kickstand and drop proof protector all in one, the MANNA UltraSlim is an intriguing proposition. On the inside there's a soft microfiber lining and a slot for a credit card or two, with prominent corner pads to protect against drops.\n\nOn the outside is a wraparound magnetic clasp, which both closes the case firmly (handy for securing any cards and cash inside) and can be pulled back to act as a kickstand for watching videos. Made from Nappa leather, MANNA UltraSlim is available in brown, red or black.\n\nA SlickWraps Carbon Fiber Skin won't give your Galaxy S7 much drop protection, so if you're accident-prone this isn't the case for you, but it will help protect the phone from scratches, which is especially handy if you keep your handset in a bag or pocket with keys or other jagged belongings. And as a skin it does that without adding much weight or thickness to your phone.\n\nThe carbon fiber design is more than just a pattern too, as it even imitates the texture for a grippy, stylish finish. Understated colors like black and silver are joined by bright orange and pink shades, among others, so there's a lot of choice too.\n\nHas anyone else noticed the plethora of wood-effect cases being worn by pals' smartphones? The curated look is a definite trend that's here tapped into by the WoodBack Snap. Wireless charging compatible, the WoodBack Snap is handmade – laser-cut, actually – from natural wood grain, though still includes the usual cut-outs.\n\nFinished with a blend of vegetable oils and wax, the WoodBack Snap comes in 14 different finishes. Ideal for lumberjacks everywhere.\n\nLike most clear cases, this one from Speck keeps it simple. The unibody case slips over the phone and can protect it from unexpected drops, it even can defend against yellowing with UV protection. Of course being clear it doesn't detract too much from the design of the S7 either, so keep an eye out for it if you're a minimalist.\n\nThese are similar in style to the CandyShell clear case, but Speck also makes some options that are a little more vibrant looking, too. From left to right, there's the standard CandyShell case in black, the Grip case in one of its four assortments of colors and, finally, Speck's Inked variation, which splashes a gorgeous look onto the standard case.\n\nThe Grip version doesn't just add color, but also raised rubber ridges, making it easier to hold on to.\n\nPricey for what it is\n\nSamsung's very own Clear Cover was the most unobtrusive and visually striking case option available at launch and it still stands out now. The clear back allows the Galaxy S7's rounded, glass back to shine, and the metallic bumpers keep it from bursting (hopefully) should you drop it.\n\nHere's another spartan case designed to make the best of the Galaxy S7's sleek look, but the Ghostek Cloak Tough – as its name suggests – has a hard-as-nails aluminum structure inside that surrounds the phone, defending against drops.\n\nAs a defensive bonus, it also includes both a gel-style covering and a separate screen protector.\n\nWhen you're dealing with a phone as beautiful as the Samsung Galaxy S7, usually even the most stylish cases make it slightly uglier, but there's an argument to be made for the Carved Special Edition Engraved series actually improving its looks.\n\nThe rubber bumper is an unfortunate finish, but it barely detracts from the beautiful wood back, engraved with geometric animals. And if animals or geometry aren't your thing, Carved has a selection of other similarly impressive wooden cases with different designs.\n\nThis case for the Galaxy S7 takes the minimalistic look of a clear case and adds a playful strip of color around its edges. It's packed with military-grade toughness, so the phone, from front-to-back, will be protected from unexpected drops.\n\nFor a classy look, check out Samsung's S View case. Like the Clear View case, this one covers the Galaxy S7 from front-to-back, too. But this also complements the S7's design with a slick look that uniformly fits to the phone. Through the square view window, you'll be able to peep every notification without unlocking your device.\n\nDescribed as a 'leatherette' case, this vegan-friendly curvy cover features a neat leather back and a metallic surround. It's a business-like, sophisticated look, but the iGlaze Napa is practical on the inside.\n\nBeneath the raised bezel that protects the Samsung Galaxy S7's 1440 x 2560 pixel screen is a shock-absorbing inner shell attached to a shatterproof polycarbonate casing. Available in Caramel Beige and Onyx Black.\n\nFor those of you who just can't quit the physical QWERTY keyboard, Samsung has done you a real favor. The Galaxy S7 Keyboard case, which is exactly like the one introduced at the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 launch, snaps onto the bottom of the phone and is every frantic texter's dream.\n\nIt definitely cramps the S7's style a bit, but on rare occasions such as these, functionality trumps form.\n\nLooks cheaper than it is\n\nAt the core of this simple bumper case from British brand Tech 21 is the firm's patented FlexShock material, which is designed to absorb and dissipate the shockwaves caused by an S7 dropping to the floor.\n\nAs well as helping to avoid a cracked screen, Evo Elite has a scratch-resistant finish, but otherwise leaves the aesthetics of the Galaxy S7 untouched. Available in gold and brushed black.\n\nCan use phone with screen covered\n\nStill need to open the case for some interactions\n\nOnly provides basic protection when open\n\nWho needs a smartwatch? Here's a product that means you don't even have to get the Samsung Galaxy S7 out of its case to receive or refuse calls, check notifications, or snooze an alarm; a left or right swipe on the dot matrix-style display is all that's needed.\n\nOn this official Samsung case you can also view the time, battery life, incoming calls and messages without opening it. It's also Qi wireless charging compatible.\n\nOnly comes in three colors\n\nThis one is for fans of HTC's Dot Matrix cases, which were originally released for the HTC One M series of smartphones. However, Samsung's new LED cases one-up them in the style department. These cases are more professional looking, but allow you the same level of gesture-controlled access, all without opening up the case.\n\nSimilar in many ways to Samsung's Clear View Cover, this arguably tops it thanks to a leather finish and eye-catching LED display.\n\nNot as tough as some OtterBox cases\n\nOtterBox is a big name in tough, rugged smartphone cases, but while its covers are known for being some of the best in the business at keeping your handset safe, they’re not generally thought of as stylish. The Strada series is an exception.\n\nThis case is made of genuine leather, in black, blue or red, with a magnetic metal latch to keep the front flap folded over the screen for full body protection.\n\nAnd speaking of protection, that hasn’t been overly compromised to deliver a stylish finish. This has still been put through the company’s exhaustive tests and has energy-absorbing materials on the inside, to ensure it can survive a drop.\n\nIt’s perhaps not quite as life-proof as the OtterBox Defender, but it’s sleeker, looks better, and even has a handy card slot built-in.\n\nSo the Galaxy S7 isn't stylish enough for you? Adorned with genuine crystal and with a metallic surround, Case-Mate's Brilliance is all about catching the light and making a statement.\n\nActually, there's more to it than that, with an interior layer of plastic adding some impact resistance and shock dispersion; we'll drink to that.\n\nWhile not the most appealing case out there, Samsung's Backpack combines an external battery and case into one. The case itself is stocked with a 3,400mAh battery that will kick in when the Galaxy S7 depletes.\n\nIt also supports wireless charging, and when it's on the cradle, it intelligently prioritizes charging the device back to good health before taking a sip of electricity for itself.\n\nThese are ordered by price at the time of writing - however, some variation may occur over time!",
      "summary": {
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          "If the crop of Samsung Galaxy S7 cases is anything to go by, transparent bumpers are the clear winner.",
          "A SlickWraps Carbon Fiber Skin won't give your Galaxy S7 much drop protection, so if you're accident-prone this isn't the case for you, but it will help protect the phone from scratches, which is especially handy if you keep your handset in a bag or pocket with keys or other jagged belongings.",
          "Here's another spartan case designed to make the best of the Galaxy S7's sleek look, but the Ghostek Cloak Tough – as its name suggests – has a hard-as-nails aluminum structure inside that surrounds the phone, defending against drops.",
          "When you're dealing with a phone as beautiful as the Samsung Galaxy S7, usually even the most stylish cases make it slightly uglier, but there's an argument to be made for the Carved Special Edition Engraved series actually improving its looks.",
          "The Galaxy S7 Keyboard case, which is exactly like the one introduced at the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 launch, snaps onto the bottom of the phone and is every frantic texter's dream."
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      "body": "Exports revenues from the two plants of Samsung Electronics Viet Nam (SEV) in Bac Ninh Province and Samsung Electronics Viet Nam – Thai Nguyen (SEVT) in Thai Nguyen Province were estimated to reach US$35 billion this year, posting a 7 per cent year-on-year increase despite the impact from this year’s Note 7 incident.\n\nProduction line of Samsung Electronics Viet Nam in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Samsung’s export revenues this year are estimated to increase 7 per cent despite the Note 7 incident.\n\nSamsung’s fourth quarter financial report revealed that Note 7 incident had an insignificant short term impact on Samsung Vietnam’s business and export turnover in 2016.\n\nAccording to its third quarter financial report announced on September 30th, Samsung Electronics Viet Nam in Bac Ninh reported a 30 per cent decline in revenue, equivalent to more than VNĐ32 trillion against the previous quarter.\n\nSamsung’s representative yesterday told Viet Nam News that it has suffered a short-term impact from the Note 7 incident. Samsung Electronics Viet Nam (SEV) – the main Note 7 production unit bore the brunt of the impact.\n\n“Shorty after we decided to stop producing the Note 7 and adjust the production line, the production and business performance returned to normal and we witnessed a rapid recovery. SEV and SEVT are producing a wide range of products including S7, S7 Edge, Galaxy A, Galaxy J, as well as Tablet models, in addition to the Note 7,” he added.\n\nSamsung Electronics HCM City CE Complex (SEHC) also expected export revenue of $1.4 billion this year, increasing 180 per cent from last year. SEHC became operational in June with total investment of $2 billion. The complex has focused on research and development as well as production of high-end TVs, washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners.\n\nLee Sangsu, SEHC’s general director said the project became one of Samsung’s four biggest consumer electronics production plants worldwide. The project has been one of the most important factories in Samsung’s global TV supply chain.\n\nTotal export turnover of Samsung Electronics in Vietnam, including the three factories, was estimated at $36.4 billion, or a 9.3 per cent increase from last year.\n\nBy the middle of this month, the country’s total export revenue was $167.83 billion. Of which, mobile phones and spare parts took the lead in terms of export revenue at $33 billion. The products’ export revenue for the whole year was expected to reach $35 billion, accounting for 20 per cent of the country’s total export revenue.\n\nSamsung Viet Nam in October announced the recall of its Galaxy Note7 smartphone after reports of the device catching fire while charging. As one of Samsung’s biggest production centres, Viet Nam was expected to be affected by the massive recall as the country has supplied around 35 per cent of the producer’s mobile phones around the world.",
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          "Samsung Electronics Viet Nam (SEV) – the main Note 7 production unit bore the brunt of the impact.",
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      "title": "Christmas Deals On VR: Samsung Gear, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PSVR, Google Daydream",
      "body": "The year 2016 saw the debut of virtual reality headsets from several tech giants like HTC, Google and Sony. It also witnessed the emergence of new content in the VR space such as PlayStation VR (PSVR) games and Netflix VR videos.\n\nIn case you missed your chances of buying a VR headset during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can still grab one with a holiday season deal. We have prepared a list of some of the best offers on leading VR headsets:\n\nThe device, which made its debut alongside the Google Pixel on Oct. 4, works with Pixel series devices and supports VR videos and games. It is available from Amazon currently at a price of $143.97 including free shipping.\n\nOne of the earliest players in the VR industry, Oculus has made its Rift headset more enticing for gamers with its Touch controllers' recent launch. The Oculus Rift bundle including the Oculus Rift VR headset, Oculus Touch controllers and Oculus Rift earphones is now available for $1,149 at a $150 discount.\n\nThe Samsung Gear VR is currently available for free along with $50 worth of Oculus content on the purchase of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.\n\nYou won't get discounts on the HTC Vive headsets, but you can still avail some offers and discounts on VR games via the company's Viveport store.\n\nThe PSVR bundle including PSVR headset, PlayStation Camera, PlayStation Move motion controllers and PlayStation VR Worlds game disc is available at $40 discount for $459.99 at GameStop.\n\nIn addition to these deals, the Microsoft Store is offering $100 gift cards on the purchase of HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. The card will be sent by Microsoft seven days after the purchase.",
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          "You won't get discounts on the HTC Vive headsets, but you can still avail some offers and discounts on VR games via the company's Viveport store.",
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      "body": "The bad phase for Samsung doesn’t seem to show any signs of coming to an end. In yet another headache for Samsung, a Reddit user has claimed that his Samsung device exploded and went up in flames while the handset was kept on a nightstand for overnight charging. According to 9To5Google, the handset in this particular instance has been identified as an older Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+. While the model was originally released back in August 2015, it is unclear how old the handset involved in this incident actually was.\n\nIn the Reddit post, the user, only identified by his username ReturnThroughAether wrote;\n“Woke up this morning (yesterday technically. 12/20) just in time to get ready for work and looked over to find my phone has exploded. Luckily I don’t keep it on my bed, as you can see it scorched my night stand. I’ve talked to Samsung and my carrier. The phone had no problems before, no overheating. I think I’m done with Samsung for a while, really gonna miss the photos I had from Africa in the fall. Dammit Samsung, I was still in your corner after the Note 7 stuff too.”\nThe man later updated his post confirming that he was in touch with Samsung regarding the incident. He also went on to add that Samsung is offering a replacement device and compensation for his burnt nightstand. However, Samsung has demanded that the phone be sent to them for evaluation purposes. The owner replied that he was interested in retaining the device as per the suggestion of an attorney who came forward and offered him assistance.\nThe explosion and the fire burnt the nightstand claims the Samsung Galaxy s6 Edge+ owner\nThis is what the updated post read;\n“These are my notes from a phone call that just transpired from Samsung.\nSamsung called. David. Confirming reddit post and events. Probably charged 1-3 hours when it popped. Can offer a replacement if I ship them device, compensation for table. Can only offer a resolution if I send in device and after evaluation. Offered expedited service once it’s in. Call ended with them offering to send a return box to my address and my informing them that I was interested in retaining the device after speaking with an attorney that offered assistance.”\n\nThe news of this Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ exploding and catching fire comes barely a week after we reported that Samsung could finally reveal the actual reason behind the multiple cases of explosions and fire that led to the recall and the eventual cancelation of the company’s flagship phablet for 2016 – the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Samsung had earlier this year promised that they would reveal the cause behind the battery fires once their internal investigation was completed.\nAn image posted by the owner of the burnt Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ on image sharing Imgur [Image by ReturnThroughAether/ Imgur]\nThe Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be the latest and greatest device from the South Korean smartphone giant. Packed with the latest processors and the best hardware available, it was supposed to be a worthy successor to its predecessor – the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. However, within weeks of its release, there were several reports from people who claimed that the phones were exploding out of the blue. Initially, most dismissed these incidents as one-off cases. However, faced with an ever increasing flow of cases, Samsung finally admitted that the Note 7 had a manufacturing defect with its battery. However, the also added that only a certain batch was affected by the problem and that they would replace all the possibly defective versions with new ones.\nJust when everyone thought the note 7 saga was coming to a close, a second wave of explosions and fire incidents were reported from handsets that were replaced by Samsung. One handset also exploded on board an aircraft following which there was a ban on carrying the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on board any aircraft in the U.S. Once it became clear that the Samsung Note 7 battery issue was far more widespread than what was initially thought, the company decided to halt the production and take the product off the shelves.\n[Featured image by ReturnThroughAether/ Imgur]",
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          "The explosion and the fire burnt the nightstand claims the Samsung Galaxy s6 Edge+ owner\nThis is what the updated post read;\n“These are my notes from a phone call that just transpired from Samsung.",
          "The news of this Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ exploding and catching fire comes barely a week after we reported that Samsung could finally reveal the actual reason behind the multiple cases of explosions and fire that led to the recall and the eventual cancelation of the company’s flagship phablet for 2016 – the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.",
          "An image posted by the owner of the burnt Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ on image sharing Imgur [Image by ReturnThroughAether/ Imgur]\nThe Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be the latest and greatest device from the South Korean smartphone giant.",
          "Just when everyone thought the note 7 saga was coming to a close, a second wave of explosions and fire incidents were reported from handsets that were replaced by Samsung."
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      "body": "It looks like Samsung’s mobile woes are going to somewhat fall on its mobile employees this year — despite beginning the year with a bang thanks to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Galaxy Note 7 debacle has lost Samsung millions of dollars. So how does Samsung plan on easing the financial trouble? Apparently with a cut to its employees’ bonuses, according to a report from SamMobile.\n\nThe bonus cut isn’t totally unexpected. Samsung offers its employees performance incentives, which is a reward program that gives employees as much as 50 percent of their annual salaries as a bonus if that division falls within 20 percent of the company’s excess profits. The bonus percentage for the mobile division, it seems, has been reduced from 50 percent to 17 percent.\n\nSamsung employees in the mobile division have been receiving the maximum 50 percent bonuses for the past few years thanks to strong smartphone sales. According to the SamMobile report, this is the first time in six years that the bonus falls under the 20 percent mark.\n\nIt’s important to note that Samsung has not confirmed the information, but it would not be surprising if it turned out to be true — the Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be Samsung’s time to shine but as you are probably aware, the device ended up being the source of a nightmare for the company. After the Galaxy Note 7 started shipping, reports began to surface saying that some units were catching fire while they charged, causing Samsung to issue a recall and replace phones with new ones. The only issue with that? The replacement phones began catching fire too, prompting a total recall of all Galaxy Note 7 phones in exchange for a full refund.",
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          "It’s important to note that Samsung has not confirmed the information, but it would not be surprising if it turned out to be true — the Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be Samsung’s time to shine but as you are probably aware, the device ended up being the source of a nightmare for the company.",
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      "title": "Comment: Can we stop freaking out every time a Samsung phone explodes?",
      "body": "Every day we walk around with potential death-traps in our pockets ─ they’re called our smartphones. Each and every smartphone ever made has the potential to explode, and sometimes they do. For the most part, the batteries in our smartphones are safe. So why does everyone suddenly care whenever a smartphone does explode? The Galaxy Note 7.\n\nEarlier this year, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 7 which, by any normal measurement, was its best smartphone ever. It packed powerful specs, all the features we could ever want, a pleasing design, and software that was finally good. Overall, it truly was a great smartphone, until they started exploding…\n\nA few weeks after launch, reports starting coming in that Note 7 units were exploding due to its battery, but the cause was and still is completely unknown. As the issue escalated, Samsung decided to issue a recall on all units that had been sold up to that point. From there, the company assured customers that the replacement Galaxy Note 7 units would be safe and marked as such. Long story short, they weren’t.\n\nOne infamous morning, a report came out that a replacement Galaxy Note 7 had caught fire while on a (thankfully grounded) flight. Then, another replacement exploded, and another, and so on and so forth. At that point, Samsung had no choice but to kill the Note 7, recalling all units that had been sold worldwide. Now, because of this whole debacle, everyone is freaking out any time a Samsung smartphone explodes.\n\nThis morning, a user report hit Reddit from a Galaxy S6 Edge+ user whose device exploded overnight due to a ruptured battery cell. He states that the device was plugged into an official charging brick and cable, but it still exploded overnight.\n\nWoke up this morning (yesterday technically. 12/20) just in time to get ready for work and looked over to find my phone has exploded. Luckily I don’t keep it on my bed, as you can see it scorched my night stand. I’ve talked to Samsung and my carrier. The phone had no problems before, no overheating. I think I’m done with Samsung for a while, really gonna miss the photos I had from Africa in the fall. Dammit Samsung, I was still in your corner after the Note 7 stuff too.\n\nWhile it’s unfortunate that this user had his device explode, it’s not a reason to freak out, nor a reason to be “done with Samsung.” This is the danger with any and all smartphones, not just Samsung and even including Apple. I’m not saying it’s not a problem that phones explode. But it happens sometimes, even though at this point, it definitely shouldn’t.\n\nThis problem is partly thanks to the way lithium batteries work. Lithium-ion batteries are designed to pack more power into a smaller space compared to other battery technologies. To do that, it relies on three main components: a positively charged cathode (made from metal), a negatively charged anode (made from graphite), and a lithium electrolyte which enables the electric charge to flow. In order to work, the cathode and anode need to be physically separated, typically with a thin piece of plastic, a piece which continues to get thinner and thinner as our devices do. That also means that these batteries continue to get more delicate, which means any external damage to the device can damage the battery which can cause a short circuit, which can, in turn, cause the device to explode.\n\nSo in short, a device is never completely safe from exploding, but it’s not likely either, especially if that device is using official charging accessories and hasn’t been damaged. Cases like the one from today are rare, and there’s only one reason we’re even noticing them. Since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco got so much attention, device explosions are on people’s minds, so everyone’s noticing these as well. It’s a phenomenon known as the frequency illusion.\n\nGranted, all the bad press should help motivate smartphone makers make safety a great concern with upcoming releases — so it’s not all bad — but let’s not freak out every time it happens. Just be happy that no one gets hurt.",
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          "This morning, a user report hit Reddit from a Galaxy S6 Edge+ user whose device exploded overnight due to a ruptured battery cell.",
          "That also means that these batteries continue to get more delicate, which means any external damage to the device can damage the battery which can cause a short circuit, which can, in turn, cause the device to explode.",
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Given their industry rivalry, Samsung and Apple are often mentioned together in news stories. In this example, we source stories that only mention Samsung. By excluding stories mentioning Apple, we are significantly increasing the likelihood that our results will contain stories that are specifically about Samsung, rather than simply mentioning the brand, perhaps in a comparison to Apple, for example.

For more information on NOT queries, check out our News API documentation.

_________________________________________________________________________

New feature: Canonical URL extraction

There is a wealth of information hidden in the contents and the markup of news story web pages that can be extremely useful to news content aggregators and app developers.

One such example of this useful information is canonical URLs.

What are Canonical URLs?

A canonical URL is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the preferred (or “canonical”) version of a web page as part of search engine optimization (SEO).

It can be described as the search-engine-friendly URL that webmasters want the likes of Google, Bing and Baidu to treat as authoritative, when a number of copies of the same story exist on a publisher’s website.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.32.17Canonical URL in webpage HTML

The URL of a web page that a visitor can see depends on the structure of the site and the path the visitor takes to reach it. For example, a product may be categorized as both food and fitness and therefore can be accessed from each category folder, with different URLs;

www.myexampleshop.com/food/productA

www.myexampleshop.com/fitness/productA

While this is a simple example, numerous URLs bring added complexity and concerns around duplicate content. By telling search engines which URL is the ‘main’ or ‘original’ URL, it can be indexed accordingly.

Why extract canonical URLs?

Because the canonical URL is the preferred or main URL, it is the most likely to remain active or unchanged. In extracting this URL, rather than a feedproxy permalink for example, you are increasing your chances of maintaining a URL record that will not change or expire in time.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.30.20News API JSON results showing permalink and canonical URL

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Introduction

Welcome to the first in a series of monthly posts where we’ll be showcasing the power of our News API by looking back at online news stories to uncover emerging insights and trends from topical news categories.

For February, we’re taken a look at the following three news categories;

  1. Arts & Entertainment
  2. Science
  3. Politics

and for each category we have performed the following analysis;

  • Publication volumes over time
  • Top stories
  • Most shared stories on social media
  • Most mentioned topics

Try it yourself

We’ve included code snippets for each of the analyses above so you can follow along or modify to create your own search queries.

If you haven’t already signed up to our News API you can do so here with a free 14 day News API trial.

Arts & Entertainment

The graph below shows publication volumes in the Arts & Entertainment category throughout the month of February 2017.

Note: All visualizations are interactive. SImply hover your cursor over each to explore the various data points and information.

Volume of stories published: Arts & Entertainment

From the graph above we can see a number of spikes indicating sharp rises in publication volumes. Let’s take a look at the top 3;

Top stories

The three stories that contributed to the biggest spikes in news publication volumes;

  1. The Academy Awards (aka the Oscars)
  2. The BAFTAs & Grammys take place on the same night
  3. Reviews of Lady Gaga’s performance during the Super Bowl halftime show

It is interesting to note that the Oscars generated more content than both the BAFTAs and Grammys combined.

While sport-related content is not included in this category, we did see a spike in stories mentioning Lady Gaga after her Super Bowl performance in the halftime show. These stories focused mostly on the singer’s performance and her choice of outfits.

Try it yourself – here’s the query we used for volume by category

Read more: We analyzed 2.2 million Super Bowl tweets to gauge public and media reaction to the game itself and the brands/celebrities featuring throughout;

Sentiment Analysis of 2.2 million Super Bowl tweets from Super Bowl 51

Using NLP to understand how Twitter and the media reacted to the Super Bowl 51 ads battle

Most mentioned topics

From the 52,000+ articles we sourced for the Arts & Entertainment category in February we looked at the most mentioned topics;

With three of the biggest award events in the film and music industries taking place in February, it is no surprise to see these two topics as the top two most mentioned.

Try it yourself – here’s the query we used for most mentioned topics

Read more: We looked at the online news media reaction the the 89th Academy Awards;

The Oscars: analyzing 22,000 news stories using Natural Language Processing & Text Analysis

Most shared on social media

What were the most shared stories on social media? We analyzed share counts from Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit to see what type of content is performing best on each channel.

Facebook

  1. 50 Most Popular Women on the Web, Per Google Search Results (ABC News. 152,570 shares)
  2. Adam Levine to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (Billboard. 103,658)

LinkedIn

  1. 14 of the Best Brands on Instagram Right Now (HubSpot. 2,158 shares)
  2. PwC issues apology after Oscars best picture envelope mistake (The Guardian. 1,354)

Reddit

  1. Louis C.K. Inks Deal With Netflix for Two Stand-Up Specials (Variety. 32,534 points)
  2. Childish Gambino is ‘definitely’ working with Chance the Rapper (MTC. 20,013 points)

Try it yourself – here’s the query we used for social shares


Science

We sourced a total of 26,000+ news stories categorized under Science and found that scientific discoveries tend to generate the most news content.

Volume of stories published: Science

Top stories

  1. NASA announce the discovery of 7 Earth-like planets
  2. Scientists turn food poisoning microbe into powerful cancer fighter
  3. Scientists reveal a new 8th continent called ‘Zealandia’

On February 22 NASA were excited to share the news that they had discovered 7 Earth-like planets just 40 light years away that could potentially harbour alien life.

Closer to home, it was discovered that an eighth continent Zealandia existed and that a food poisoning microbe could be turned into a powerful cancer fighter.

Most mentioned topics

Although it didn’t generate quite as much news content as the previously mentioned stories, the drought in California and other parts of the US was evident among the most mentioned topics in the Science category.

Most shared on social media

Facebook

  1. Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years (The Guardian. 144,647 shares)
  2. Earth Day picked as date for science march on Washington (CNN. 81,870 shares)

LinkedIn

  1. Science Says These Five Things Prove You’re Smart (Forbes. 2,857 shares)
  2. NASA Announces Discovery Of 7 Earth-Sized Planets In Nearby Star System (Real Clear Politics. 1,423 shares)

Reddit

  1. China is now the world’s largest solar power producer (Digital Trends. 52,397 points)
  2. ‘Shell knew’: oil giant’s 1991 film warned of climate change danger (The Guardian. 32,414 points)

Law, Government & Politics

For the Law, Government & Politics category we thought we would try something a little different. The chart below shows two separate volume trends. The red volume represents all 163,000+ stories published in this category in February. The yellow volume represents all stories from this category that did not mention Donald Trump. The total: 48,000 stories.

This means that around 70% of all stories in this category mentioned the US President.

Volume of stories published: Law, Government & Politics with/without Trump

Most mentioned topics

Try it yourself – here’s the query we used for category volumes without Trump

With our previous observation in mind, you probably won’t be surprised by the most mentioned topics from the 163,000+ stories published in the Law, Government & Politics category.

Most shared on social media

Facebook

  1. Alabama immigration: crops rot as workers vanish to avoid crackdown (The Guardian. 217,679 shares)
  2. 18 WTF Moments From Trump’s Unhinged Press Conference (Rolling Stone. 113,397 shares)

LinkedIn

  1. It’s official, Narendra Modi is the most followed world leader on Facebook (Quartz. 2,540)
  2. What CEOs say happened in Trump’s closed-door meeting with big pharma (Washington Post. 1,570 shares)

Reddit

  1. US appeals court upholds suspension of Trump travel ban (CNBC. 90,980 points)
  2. Fox News’s ‘Swedish defence advisor’ unknown to country’s military officials (The Guardian. 74,772 points)

Conclusion

We hope that this post has given you an idea of the kind of in-depth and precise analyses that our News API users are performing to source and analyze specific news content that is of interest to them.

Ready to try the News API for yourself? Simply click the image below to sign up for a 14-day free trial.





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Introduction

The 89th Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, took place in Los Angeles over the weekend with Hollywood’s finest walking the famed red carpet with hopes of taking home the movie industry’s most prestigious award.

With an event of such magnitude and popularity naturally comes a whole lot of hype and media commentary, both on social media and in the news. Today we’re going to take a look at the latter by leveraging the power of Natural Language Processing and Text Analysis to analyze and gather insights from news content relating to the Oscars.

In doing so, we’ve used the AYLIEN News API to collect and analyze news stories, and Tableau to visualize our results.

How did the media react to the Oscars?

To begin, we wanted to see how the Oscars affected news publication volumes. In doing so, we looked at the Movies category for the month of February and graphed the daily story volumes below;

Daily story publication volumes: Movies category

As you can see, there is a clear spike is story volumes around on the day of the event, and on the days around it. On the day the Awards took place, we see a 350% increase in story volumes compared to the average day in February.

Which publishers produced the most Oscars-related content?

Next we looked at the sources of all Oscars-related news content published in February to uncover the most active publishers.

Note: You can hover over each individual bubble to see precise story volumes.

Story volume per publisher

Which Oscars-related stories were shared most on social media?

We analyzed share counts from Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit to see what type of content is performing best on each channel.

Facebook

  1. What We Lose When We Give Awards to Men Like Casey Affleck (Elle. 53,327 shares)
  2. Katherine Johnson, real-life subject of ‘Hidden Figures’ receives standing ovation at Oscars (ABC News. 48,155 shares)

LinkedIn

  1. PwC issues apology after Oscars best picture envelope mistake (The Guardian. 1,354 shares)
  2. PwC Partner at Oscars Tweeted Backstage Minutes Before Best Picture Mix-Up (Wall Street Journal. 1,253 shares)

Reddit

  1. Trump Lashes Out at New York Times Ad Set to Air on the Oscars Tonight (Ad Week. 15,507 points)
  2. Lagerfeld: Meryl Streep Passed On Oscar Dress When Chanel Refused to Pay (WWD. 6,962 points)

 

It’s interesting to see the different types of content that is shared most on each social network. Facebook users tend to share stories that are perhaps written with the intention of generating an emotional response. While LinkedIn, being a professional network, focuses on stories relating to organizations, in this case PwC who were at the center of an embarrassing mix-up at the Oscars.

Which Best Picture nominees were mentioned most in the news?

We analyzed the nine nominees for Best Picture from February 1 to just before the event to see which movies were receiving the most attention in the press, before the results were announced.

Most mentioned movies prior to the event

Not only was La La Land the favourite to win the Best Picture Oscar, it was also the most mentioned of the nine nominees in the news in the lead up to the Awards. The actual winner, Moonlight, was perhaps surprisingly only the fifth most mentioned out of the nine nominees.

Which individuals were mentioned most in the news?

As one of the entertainment industry’s showcase annual events, the Academy Awards is never short of big name actors, celebrities and performers.

By extracting mentions of people from our analyzed news content we can see which individuals received the most media attention.

Most mentioned individuals in Oscars-related news content

At the top of our most-mentioned list is Best Actress winner Emma Stone and Awards host Jimmy Kimmel. It’s perhaps interesting to note the position of Best Actor winner Casey Affleck, who came in as just the seventh most mentioned individual.

In case you’re wondering about the appearance of Donald Trump here, he got a bit of a roasting on the night by Jimmy Kimmel! Let’s now take a look at the media’s reaction to the host’s performance.

Jimmy Kimmel: Hit or Miss?

Using Sentiment Analysis we can uncover whether an article has been written in a positive, negative or neutral way. To analyze the media’s reaction to Jimmy Kimmel, we only retrieved stories that mentioned him in the title. We find that this significantly increases the chances that the story (or at least the majority of it) is about the individual in question, rather than just mentioning him in the body text of the article

Here’s what we found;

News media reaction to Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel

Conclusion

We hope that this post has given you an idea of the kind of in-depth and precise analyses that our News API users are performing to source and analyze specific news content that is of interest to them.

Ready to try the News API for yourself? Simply click the image below to sign up for a 14-day free trial.





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Introduction

There is a wealth of information hidden in the contents and the markup of a web page that can be extremely useful when trying to understand what a page is all about while trawling the web. One classic example would be tags: those short phrases or keywords that bloggers and publishers use to describe what a webpage, article or blog post is about. Tags can be rendered as visual elements on the page, or hidden away using `meta` attributes.

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 18.34.59

example of meta attributes

It is obvious that by extracting these tags we can learn a whole lot about any blog post or article that we are analyzing. They describe a piece of content the way their author or editor would, and they may contain various pieces of information such as the high-level topical category, the entities (people, places, organizations, etc.) mentioned, or the concepts that the article is about. This makes them an excellent source of information to leverage when classifying web pages.

The problem with extracting these tags is the way webpages are structured on the web, and the way they are expressed differs greatly across web pages and sites. Different Content Management Systems used by different blogs and news websites each have their own way of presenting metadata such as tags, making it difficult to access and parse this information.

tags dark grey (3)

examples of visual tags from various blogging platforms

Today we are announcing the launch of a much-requested addition to our Article Extraction API that provides a uniform and standard interface for extracting tags from any blog post or article on the web.

Tag Extraction

We’ve supercharged our article extraction feature in the Text Analysis API to make it even easier to extract useful information from a webpage. Through our Article Extraction endpoint, users already have the ability to extract metadata such as author name, publish date, main image, article title and the main body of text from a page. But in a lot of cases, a web page will contain other useful information about that page often in the form of tags..

The Tag Extraction feature will identify and extract any relevant tags present on the page no matter the structure of the page or where the tags are present.

So how can these tags be used?

These extracted tags can be utilized in a number of ways;

To tag or classify a web page

The tags extracted can often give a very useful insight into what a page is about. These tags are often manually added by the author, an editor or the web designer meaning they can provide very accurate descriptions of what a page is about.

Take for example these tags extracted from an article on Artificial Intelligence on Wired below.

{
author :  Cade Metz,
image :  https://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/GettyImages-135579222_HP-1200x630-e1485911637921.jpg,
tags : [
neural networks,
artificial-intelligence,
neural-networks,
singularity,
Singularity,
Artificial Intelligence
],
article :  For almost three weeks, Dong Kim sat at a casino in Pittsburgh and played poker against a machine. But Kim wasn’t just a...,
videos : [ ... ],
title :  Inside the Poker AI That Out-Bluffed the Best Humans,
publishDate :  2017-02-01T07:00:43+00:00,
feeds : [ ... ]
}

Classify a page according to a taxonomy

So while these extracted tags can be useful in understanding a webpage they don’t necessarily help if your aim is to classify content based on a particular taxonomy.

The tags can also be used to classify a piece of content or a page into predetermined categories according to a particular taxonomy. For example using our classification by taxonomy features, these tags provide users with the ability to categorize content efficiently.

Example:
First we extract the tags from an Irish times article on Conor McGregor

{
author :  Emmet Malone,
image :  http://www.irishtimes.com/image-creator/?id=1.2620063&origw=1440,
tags : [
UFC,
Other Sports,
Nate Diaz,
Other,
Dana White,
Sport,
Conor Mcgregor
],
article :  When this imbroglio finally blows over, we can explore what Conor McGregor has against Connecticut. For now, let’s conce...,
videos : [ ... ],
title :  Conor McGregor lays cards on table in poker game with UFC,
publishDate :  2016-04-21T22:48:00+00:00,
feeds : [ ... ]
}

You’ll see the tags present in the results above.

Next, we use our Classification by Taxonomy feature to automatically categorize the content. You’ll see from the results below that it is correctly categorized as Sports and Martial Arts.

{
text :  UFC, Other Sports, Nate Diaz, Other, Dana White, Sport, Conor Mcgregor,
taxonomy :  iab-qag,
language :  en,
categories : [
{
confident :  true,
score :  0.22010621132863611,
label :  Sports,
links : [ ... ],
id :  IAB17
},
{
confident :  true,
score :  0.11470804569304427,
label :  Martial Arts,
links : [ ... ],
id :  IAB17-20
}

Classifying text-light web pages

In most NLP driven page classification problems you rely heavily on the main body of text present on a page to give context and understanding. However, in some cases, web pages may contain little or no text which make it harder to classify or categorize. Common examples include pages that contain only a video, or a collection of photos or product style pages like the one below.

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 15.51.58

an example of a product page that is very light on text

As an example, let’s take the page above, it’s a product page taken from the Best Buy website. What you’ll notice is, there’s very little text on the page to use for an appropriate analysis target apart from a few headings. On top of that there are also lot’s of other elements like ads and buttons on the page which make it even harder to scrape. Now just imagine how different every product page is, it’s almost impossible to build an efficient script or bot that’s going to classify these pages successfully.

Using the Tag Extraction feature however means you can leverage other elements of the page as previously explained and shown in the results below. As you can see from the JSON results, the listed tags are very precise, and do an excellent job of describing the page in question.

{
author :  ,
image :  http://www.bestbuy.cahttps://multimedia.bbycastatic.ca/multimedia/products/100x100/104/10423/10423406.jpg,
tags : [
Smart Lights,
Switches & Plugs,
Smart Home,
Home Living,
Best Buy Canada,
Smart Lighting
],
article :  The Hue Phoenix rises to the occasion when you want to create ambience and mood lighting. Using the Philips Hue app, you...,
videos : [ ... ],
title :  Philips Hue Phoenix Table Lamp - Opal White,
publishDate :  ,
feeds : [ ... ]
}

Conclusion

Whatever your reason is for understanding web pages at scale, this new feature provides you with a fantastic opportunity to dive even deeper into the web content they analyze and analyze and classify a wider variety of web pages.

Want to try it for yourself? Click the image below to sign-up to get Free access and 1,000 calls per day with our Text Analysis API.





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0

Introduction

Last week we showed you how we analyzed 2.2 million tweets associated with Super Bowl 51 to gauge the public’s reaction to the event. While the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots waged war on the field, a battle of ever-increasing popularity and importance was taking place off it. We are of course referring to the Super Bowl ads battle, where some of biggest brands on Earth pay top dollar for a 30-second slot during one of sport’s greatest spectacles.

With roughly 35% of the US population tuning in to watch this year’s Super Bowl, it’s easy to see why brands pay what they do to be involved, which is in the region of $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Breaking it down, that’s over $166,000 per second!

So after analyzing how Twitter reacted to the game itself, we wanted to once again dive into the much anticipated and scrutinized battle of the brands, this time by looking at both Twitter’s reaction as well online news content.

Our Process

In particular, we were interested in uncovering and investigating the following key areas:

  • Volume of tweets before, during and after the game
  • Sentiment of tweets before, during and after the game
  • Brand-specific public reactions
  • Brand-specific tweet volumes
  • Reaction from online news
  • Most mentioned brands and individuals in online news

To do so, we looked at both Twitter and the news.

Twitter

We used the Twitter Streaming API to collect a total of around 2.2 million tweets that mentioned a selection of game and team-related keywords, hashtags and handles. Using the AYLIEN Text Analysis API, we then analyzed each of these tweets and visualized our results using Tableau.

News

To analyze the reaction in online news content, we performed specific search queries using the AYLIEN News API, again using Tableau to visualize.

Our Predictions

Prior to the Super Bowl, we looked at and analyzed brand mention volumes in online news in an attempt to predict how the public would react to their ads when they aired during the game.

From our analysis, we selected our top 3 Super Bowl ads to watch out for and made predictions for each. We’ll expand on each prediction below and also look at the performance of some other interesting brands. Here are the brands we analyzed;

  • Pepsi
  • Budweiser
  • Avocados from Mexico
  • Intel
  • KFC
  • Snickers
  • T-Mobile
  • KIA

You can also check out the original blog post here: Using NLP & media monitoring to predict the winners and losers of the Super Bowl 51 ads battle.

So without further ado, let’s see how we did!

Tweet volumes by brand

To begin, we wanted to see which brands performed best in terms of tweet mentions. How many tweets contained a mention of each brand?

The chart below shows how brand-related chatter on Twitter developed before, during and after the game.

Straight away we can see that two brands in particular considerably outperformed the rest when it came to spikes in mention volumes; Pepsi and Avocados from Mexico.

These two brands along with Budweiser make up our top 3, with the others really failing to make much of an impact in comparison.

Perhaps the most interesting observation from this chart is the double volume spike for Pepsi, which came pre-game and mid-game. Let’s take a look the reason behind this;

Pepsi

Our pre-game predictions

  • Huge Twitter mention volumes for Pepsi, owing to Lady Gaga’s performance.
  • Low mention volumes for LIFEWTR and Pepsi Zero Sugar.
  • Tame public reaction to LIFEWTR commercial and very low YouTube views.

Analysis

In terms of tweet mention volume, Pepsi was a clear overall winner. The beverage giant focused their efforts on generating awareness around two new products; LIFEWTR and Pepsi Zero Sugar. LIFEWTR was given it’s own commercial in the first quarter, while Zero Sugar sponsored the halftime show.

Judging by the sheer volume of tweet chatter around Pepsi, you might assume that their ad and new products have been well received by the viewing public. However, as we predicted prior to the game, Pepsi’s high mentions volume was mostly down to the fact that they sponsored the halftime show, that starred Lady Gaga. The two spikes visible in the chart below actually have very little to do with either product. Rather, they represent 1) a barrage pre-game good luck Gaga tweets and 2) Twitter’s reaction to the singer’s halftime show performance.

Sentiment analysis of Pepsi tweets

The chart below shows volumes of positive and negative tweets before, during and after the game. It should be noted that the majority of tweets collected have neutral sentiment, and offer no opinion either way. We therefore exclude tweets with neutral sentiment.

Less than 5% of tweets mentioning Pepsi also included mentions of LIFEWTR or Zero Sugar, such was the dominance of Lady Gaga on Twitter. While Pepsi had a strong brand presence throughout the event, they perhaps failed to highlight their two new products. The chart below compares mentions of Pepsi and Lady Gaga, with an obvious winner;

Further evidence of Pepsi’s apparent failure to highlight their new products comes from the LIFEWTR ad performance on YouTube, which currently has 1.2 million views. When compared to the likes of KIA and Mr. Clean whose ads have 21.6 and 14.5 million views respectively, you can see how little of an impact the commercial had on viewers.

Watch: Pepsi’s Super Bowl ad for LIFEWTR

Budweiser

Our pre-game predictions

  • Most controversial ad this year
  • Ad content will be irrelevant, and a political debate will rage on Twitter

Analysis

Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad, titled Born The Hard Way, depicts Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of Anheuser-Busch, arriving in the US from Germany with a dream of opening his own beer brewery. With the immigrant-theme and opening line “You don’t look like you’re from around here”, the ad unintentionally fuelled a political debate online as Trump supporters saw it as a clear dig at the President’s planned travel ban, while Trump opposers saw it as political statement and celebration of immigrant history in the US.

Sentiment analysis of Budweiser tweets

The high volumes of both positive and negative tweets certainly backs up our prediction of Budweiser airing the most controversial ad of Super Bowl 51. While positive sentiment outweighed negative throughout the event, it is clear to see there was a strong split in opinion here.
As expected, the ad itself was minimally discussed on Twitter. Rather, it was seen as a political statement and one that many felt they needed to be either for or against. On one side of the fence, we had tweeters threatening to never buy Budweiser products again and using #boycottbudweiser in their tweets.



On the other side, we had people declaring their love for the brand, and encouraging others to go out and buy the beer!



Although Budweiser claim the ad was shot in Summer of 2016, long before the current controversy around Trump’s travel ban came to the fore, we are left to wonder whether their timing was mere coincidence or a well planned publicity stunt.

Watch: Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad “Born The Hard Way”

Snickers

Our pre-game predictions

  • Live format will inspire and drive high social engagement.
  • A popular cast, inclusion of horses and a fun theme will see Snickers near the top of our most liked ads in terms of positive Twitter sentiment.

Analysis

Snickers made Super Bowl history this year by being the first brand to perform and broadcast their commercial live during the event. With the intrigue of a live performance, as well as the inclusion of superstars like Betty White and Adam Driver, we were excited to see how this one played out, particularly the reaction on social media.

Sentiment analysis of Snickers tweets

While we did pretty well predicting the reactions to both the Pepsi and Budweiser ads, we’ll put our hands up here and admit we got this one wrong!

Overall, mentions of Snickers on Twitter were very low. From the tweets we did gather, the vast majority of them had neutral sentiment, meaning viewers really didn’t feel strongly about the ad either way.

Whether they are well received or not, great ads tend to make people feel something. Unfortunately for Snickers, their innovative approach and live broadcast wasn’t enough to make up for an ad that failed to make viewers feel anything, and ultimately it fell flat.

Watch: Snickers LIVE Super Bowl ad

Lady Gaga vs. the brands

We showed earlier the impact that Lady Gaga had on Pepsi’s tweet volumes, but to really drive home the full extent of Twitter’s reaction to the singer during the Super Bowl, we’ve compared total tweet volumes for each of the three brands we’ve looked at in this post and compared them to Lady Gaga’s.

Tweet volumes: Lady Gaga, Pepsi, Budweiser & Snickers

Reaction in online news

Now that we’ve looked at some of the public reaction to Super Bowl 51 on Twitter, we wanted to also look at how at how the news reacted to the event, and in particular the ads battle. To do this, we began by looking at the most mentioned keywords in news stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “ad” or “commercial”.

Note: We removed obvious, unhelpful and game-related keywords such as Houston, football, Falcons, Tom Brady, etc.

What were the most talked about Super Bowl topics in the news?

The bubble chart below shows the most mentioned topics from online news content in the week immediately following the Super Bowl. The bigger the bubble, the higher the mention count. You can hover over each bubble to view more information and data.

It’s hard to escape politics these days, and the Super Bowl was no exception. With the likes of Budweiser, Airbnb, 84 Lumber, Audi and Coca-Cola all airing ads that related to the current political climate, it is no surprise to see these brands mentioned most alongside political and Donald Trump.

Most mentioned individuals

With brands mostly dominating the previous chart, we decided to narrow our focus on the individuals who were mentioned most. Again, Donald Trump tops the list, followed by Lady Gaga, Melissa McCarthy (KIA ad) and Justin Bieber (T-Mobile ad).

Conclusion

As we touched on in our previous post, the modern-day Super Bowl is becoming increasingly less about the game itself, and more about the surrounding hype, entertainment and commercial opportunities that come with an event of such magnitude.

With top brands spending a minimum of $5 million for a 30 second commercial, what seems like a heavy investment can result in a big increase in brand awareness as viewers promote ads through shares and likes on social media. There is uncapped potential for these ads too. Create something special that connects with, amuses or fascinates viewers and your ad may be viewed and shared for years to come.

Thanks to advancements in Natural Language Process and Text Analysis, brands can analyze ad performance down to the minutest of details and gain powerful insights in their quest to create commercial content that resonates with viewers.





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0

Introduction

Super Bowl 51 had us on the edge of our seats. A dramatic comeback and a shocking overtime finish meant the 111.3 Million Americans who tuned into the event certainly got what they came for. Even though TV viewership was down on previous years, the emotional rollercoaster that was Sunday’s game will certainly go down as one of the greatest.

As with any major sporting event, the Super Bowl creates an incredible amount of hype, particularly on Social Media. All of the social chatter and media coverage around the Super Bowl means it’s a fantastic case study in analyzing the voice of fans and their reactions to the event. Using advanced Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing techniques, such as Sentiment Analysis, we are able to understand how fans of both the Patriots and the Falcons collectively felt at any given moment throughout the event.

Not familiar with Sentiment Analysis? Sentiment Analysis is used to detect positive or negative polarity in text and can help you understand the split in opinion from almost any body of text, website or document.

Our process

We used the Twitter Streaming API to collect a total of around 2.2 million tweets that mentioned a selection of game and team-related keywords, hashtags and handles. Using the AYLIEN Text Analysis API, we analyzed each of these tweets and visualized our results using Tableau. In particular, we were interested in uncovering and investigating the following key areas:

  • Volume of tweets before, during and after the game
  • Sentiment of tweets before, during and after the game
  • Team-specific fan reactions
  • The most tweeted players
  • The most popular Super Bowl hashtag

Keyword selection

We focused our data collection on keywords, hashtags and handles that were related to Super Bowl 51 and the two competing teams, including;

#SB51, #superbowl, #superbowlLI, #superbowl51, #superbowl2017, #HouSuperBowl, #Patriots, #NEPatriots, #newenglandpatriots, #Falcons, #AtlantaFalcons.

Once we collected all of our tweets, we spent a bit of time cleaning and prepping our data set, first by disregarding some of the metadata which we felt we didn’t need. We kept key indicators like time stamps, tweet ID’s and the raw text of each tweet. We also removed retweets and tweets that contained links. From previous experience, we find that tweets containing links are mostly objective and generally don’t hold any author opinion towards the event.

Tools we used

Visualizations

Like with many of our data-driven blog posts, we used Tableau to visualize our results. All visualizations are interactive and you can hover your mouse over each one to dive deeper into the key data points from which they are generated.

We began our analysis of Super Bowl 51 by looking at the overall volume of tweets in the lead up and during the game.

Tweet volume over time: all tweets

The graph below represents minute-by-minute fluctuations in tweet volumes before during and after the game. For reference, we’ve highlighted some of the key moments throughout the event with the corresponding spikes in tweet volume.

As you can see, there is a definite and steady increase in tweet volume in the period leading up to the game. From kickoff, it is then all about reactions to in-game highlights, as seen by the sharp spikes and dips in volumes. We’ve also highlighted the halftime period to show you the effect that Lady Gaga’s performance had on tweet volumes.

Let’s now take a closer look at the pre-game period and in particular, fan predictions.

Pre-game tweet volume: #PatriotsWin vs. #FalconsWin

For the past 13 years, video game developers EA Sports have been using their football game ‘Madden NFL’ to simulate and predict the winner of the Super Bowl each year. They now have a 10-3 success-failure rate, in case you were wondering! In recent times, they have also been inviting the Twittersphere to show their support for their team by using a certain hashtag in their tweets. For 2017, it was #PatriotsWin vs. #FalconsWin.
So, which set of fans were the most vocal in the 2017 #MyMaddenPrediction battle? We listened to Twitter in the build up to the game for mentions of both hashtags, and here’s what we found;

58.57% of tweets mentioned #FalconsWin while 41.43% went with #PatriotsWin. While the Patriots were firm pre-game favorites, it is likely that the neutral football fan on Twitter got behind the underdog Falcons as they chased their first ever Super Bowl win, in just their second appearance.

Tweet volume over time by team

Now that we’ve seen the overall tweet volume and the pre-game #MyMaddenPrediction volumes, let’s take a look at tweet volumes for each individual team before, during and after the game.
The graph below represents tweet volumes for both teams, with the New England Patriots in the top section and the Atlanta Falcons in the bottom section.

Talk about a game of two halves! That vertical line you can see between the two main peaks represents halftime, and as you can see, Falcons fans were considerably louder in the first half of the game, before the Patriots fans brought the noise in the second half as their team pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history.

Sentiment analysis of tweets

While tweet volumes relating to either team can be a clear indicator of their on-field dominance during various periods of the game, we like to go a step further and look at the sentiment of these tweets to develop an understanding of how public opinion develops and fluctuates.

The charts below are split into two sections;

Top: Volume of tweets over time, by sentiment (Positive / Negative)

Bottom: Average sentiment polarity over time (Positive / Negative)

New England Patriots

What’s immediately clear from the chart above is that, for the majority of the game, Patriots fans weren’t too happy and it seems had given up hope. However, as you can see by the gradual increase in positive tweets sentiment and volume in the final third, their mood clearly and understandably changes.

Atlanta Falcons

In stark contrast to the Patriots chart, Falcons fans were producing high volumes of positive sentiment for the majority of the game, until the Patriots comeback materialized, and their mood took a turn for the worse, as indicated by the drop of sentiment into negative.

Most tweeted individuals

To get an understanding of who people were talking about in their tweets, we looked at the top mentioned individuals. Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady was heavily featured after his 5th Super Bowl triumph.However, the most mentioned individual had no part to play in the actual game.

All notable players and scorers (and even Brady himself) were shrugged aside when it came to who the viewers were talking about and reacting to most on Twitter, as halftime show performer Lady Gaga dominated. To put the singer’s domination into perspective, she was mentioned in nearly as many tweets as Brady and Ryan were combined!

To get an idea of the scale of her halftime performance, check out this incredible timelapse;


Interestingly, national anthem singer Luke Bryan was tweeted more than both the Patriots’ Head Coach Bill Belichick and catch-of-the-game winner Julian Edelman. Further proof, if needed, that the Super Bowl is not just about the game of football, but that it is becoming more and more of an entertainment spectacle off the field.

Most popular Super Bowl hashtags

We saw a variety hashtags emerge for the Super Bowl this year, so we decided to see which were the most used. Here are the top 5 most popular Super Bowl hashtags, which we have visualized with volumes below;

#SuperBowl

#SB51

#SuperBowl2017

#SuperBowlLI

#SuperBowl51

Despite the NFL’s best efforts to get Twitter using #SB51, the most obvious and simple hashtag of #SuperBowl was a clear winner.

Conclusion

There is no other event on the planet that creates as much hype in the sporting, advertising and entertainment worlds. But the Super Bowl as we know it today, is far less about the football and more about the entertainment factor and commercial opportunity. With big brands spending a minimum $5 Million for a 30 second commercial, competition for viewers eyes and more importantly viewers promotion through shares and likes on social media, the Super Bowl has become big business.

In our next installment, we’ve analyzed the chatter around Super Bowl 51 from a branding point of view. We collected and analyzed Twitter data and news and media coverage of the event to pinpoint which brands and commercials joined the Patriots as Super Bowl 51 champions.





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Introduction

We’re just two days away from seeing the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots go head to head at Super Bowl 51 in Texas. With an anticipated viewership of over 100 million people, it’s no surprise that some of the world’s biggest brands are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to win a much anticipated off-field battle. We are of course talking about the annual Super Bowl ads battle, where top brands are willing to cough up over $5 million for just 30 seconds of TV airtime.

Sentiment Analysis of tweets from Super Bowl 2016

Last year, we analyzed 1.8 million tweets during Super Bowl 50 to uncover the best, the worst, and the most controversial ads according to Twitter users. Using advanced Sentiment Analysis techniques, we were able to uncover that Amazon’s star-studded effort was the most popular ad at Super Bowl 50, earning the highest volume of positive tweets. PayPal, on the other hand, found themselves at the opposite end of the positivity scale, receiving the highest volume of negative tweets. And the most controversial? We had a clear winner in that category with Mountain Dew’s Puppy Monkey Baby shocking, confusing and amusing viewers in equal measure!

Of course, it’s not all about those 30 seconds of TV airtime. Brands that create something memorable can reap the rewards long after the final whistle has blown. Popular ads can go viral in minutes, with those that fail to impress being left behind and quickly forgotten. Just take a look at the YouTube views for these three brand ads since Super Bowl 50;

YouTube views since Super Bowl 50

With close to 30 million YouTube hits, it’s safe to say that Mountain Dew did pretty well from their wacky creation last year! For PayPal on the other hand, it was back to the drawing board with an expensive disappointment.

Watch: Mountain Dew’s Super Bowl 50 ad “Puppymonkeybaby”

Note: In this post, which is part 1 of a 3 part series, we’re going to focus on the hype surrounding the ads battle in the lead up to big game. Check back for part 2 and 3 where we’ll dive into the in-game reaction on social media and how the brands fared from the press reaction after the event.

The most anticipated ads of Super Bowl 51

This year, as well as once again analyzing millions of tweets to uncover the good, the bad and the ugly among Super Bowl 51 commercials (check back next week for that one!), we thought it would be cool to find out which brands are receiving the most media attention in the lead up to the event.

Using the AYLIEN News API we sourced and analyzed thousands of news stories that mentioned keywords relating to the Super Bowl and the brands that are advertising throughout. From these stories, and using the power of Natural Language Processing in our Text Analysis engine, we were able to uncover which brands have been mentioned most in news stories in the lead up to the event..

The top 15 most mentioned brands

The bubble chart below represents the 15 brands that have received the most mentions in Super Bowl commercial-related news content since January 1. The bigger the bubble, the higher the mentions volume;

Right away we can see a clear leader in Budweiser, who received 50% more mentions than the second most mentioned brand, Pepsi. Why are Budweiser receiving so much attention? Well, much like Mountain Dew last year, controversy is proving to be a key factor, as we’re about to show you.


Want to track mentions and get intelligent, NLP-driven insights into the world’s news content? Sign-up for a free 14 day trial of our News API and get started!

Our top 3 Super Bowl commercials to watch out for

Having uncovered the top 15 most mentioned brands, we thought we would put our necks on the line by selecting three of these brands that we believe will make the biggest splash on social media during Super Bowl 51.

Budweiser

In an attempt to better understand the reasoning behind the hype around Budweiser, we analyzed all news stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “Budweiser” to see what other topics were present in the collection of articles. From our results we removed keywords relating to the football game itself, as well as obvious brand-related words such as Bud, Anheuser-Busch, beer, etc. The topics that remained quickly gave us an indication of why this ad is proving to be controversial in the US;

Topics extracted from stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “Budweiser”

Coincidence, or political statement?

Budweiser’s commercial preview, titled Born The Hard Way, shows Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of Anheuser-Busch, arriving in the US from Germany with the dream of opening his beer brewery. With the immigrant-theme of the commercial and opening line of dialogue being “You don’t look like you’re from around here”, the thoughts of political statement quickly spring to mind.

Watch: Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad preview “Born The Hard Way”

Despite Budweiser vice-president, Ricardo Marques, stating that “There’s really no correlation with anything else that’s happening in the country”, news outlets and social media commentators beg to differ, with a strong split in opinion quickly forming. We’re even seeing the spread of #BoycottBudweiser across many tweets.



Whether intentional or not, Budweiser have placed themselves firmly at the center of an fiery debate on immigration, and it will be fascinating to see the public reaction to their main showpiece on Sunday.

Our Budweiser prediction

  • Most controversial ad this year
  • Ad content will be irrelevant, and a political debate will rage on Twitter

Snickers

Snickers will make Super Bowl history this year by being the first brand to perform and broadcast their commercial live during the event.

While Snickers have released a number of small teaser-style previews with a western-theme, we’re still not sure exactly how this one is going to play out.

Watch: Snickers’ Super Bowl ad teaser

With the intrigue of a live performance, as well as the inclusion of superstars like Betty White and Adam Driver, we’re excited to see how this one goes, particularly the reaction on social media.

Live commercial, live Twitter reaction

The world’s first live Super Bowl commercial presents us with the opportunity to track public reaction before, during and after the performance. While we’ll be tracking and analyzing the reaction to all of our top 15 ads, the uniqueness of Snickers’ live commercial brings a whole new level of insight into the tracking of public opinion. Judging by the teasers, it appears that Snickers are going for a wild west-style performance with horses, celebrities and a number of performers.

The big question is, how will social media respond to a real-time, potentially unpolished and unpredictable live performance? We can’t wait to find out!

Our Snickers prediction

  • Live format will inspire and drive high social engagement.
  • A popular cast, inclusion of horses and a fun theme will see Snickers near the top of our most liked ads in terms of positive Twitter sentiment.


Want to track Twitter reactions yourself? Build your own sentiment analysis tool in just 10 minutes. No coding required, and it’s free 🙂

Pepsi

Our second most mentioned brand, Pepsi are investing heavily in Super Bowl 51 with commercials for two products, as well as sponsoring the 12-minute Halftime Show.

For Pepsi, their main aim is to generate awareness around two new products; LIFEWTR and Pepsi Zero Sugar. Have they been successful in this regard so far? While our post-game analysis will give us a better indication of the overall success of their campaign, we can perhaps already say that these two products are being somewhat overshadowed.

Here are the top keywords from stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “Pepsi”, excluding game-related and obvious brand-related keywords such as Houston, PepsiCo, football, etc.

Topics extracted from stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “Pepsi”

If you weren’t aware of who was performing during the Super Bowl Halftime Show, now you are! Lady Gaga is absolutely dominating in terms of media mentions, and Pepsi’s high mention volume is most definitely a result of the singer’s involvement in the Halftime Show that they just happen to be sponsoring.

Perhaps worryingly for Pepsi, we saw no mention of LIFEWTR or Pepsi Zero Sugar in our top 100 keyword results.

Watch: Pepsi Super Bowl 51 ad “Inspiration Drops”

Last year, PayPal were accused of playing it safe when it came to their Super Bowl ad. Have Pepsi made the same mistake with LIFEWTR?

Our Pepsi prediction

  • Huge Twitter mention volumes for Pepsi, owing to Lady Gaga’s performance.
  • Low mention volumes for LIFEWTR and Pepsi Zero Sugar.
  • Tame public reaction to LIFEWTR commercial and very low YouTube views.

Who will be the winners and losers at Super Bowl 51?

We’ll be listening to and analyzing news and social media content before, during and after Super Bowl 51 to bring you our annual insights into public and media reaction to both the game itself and the ads battle, so check back next week to find out who were the biggest winners and losers!

Happy Super Bowl weekend to you all 🙂


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Introduction

With our News API, our goal is to make the world’s news content easier to collect, monitor and query, just like a database. We leverage Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to process, normalize and analyze this content to make it easier for our users to gain access to rich and high quality metadata, and use powerful filtering capabilities that will ultimately help you to find precise and targeted stories with ease.

To this end, we have just launched a cool new feature, Real-time monitoring. Real-time monitoring allows you to further automate your collection and analysis of the world’s news content by creating tailored searches that source and automatically retrieve highly-relevant news stories, as soon as they are published.

real-time monitoring

You can read more about our latest feature – which is now also available in our News API SDKs – below.

Real-time monitoring

With Real-time monitoring enabled you can automatically pull stories as they are published, based on your specific search query. Users who rely on having access to the latest stories as soon as they are published, such as news aggregators and news app developers for example, should find this new feature particularly interesting.

The addition of this powerful new feature will help ensure that your app, webpage or news feed is bang up to date with the latest and most relevant news content, without the need for manual searching and updating.

Newly published stories can be pulled every minute (configurable), and duplicate stories in subsequent searches will be ignored. This ensures you are only getting the most recent publications, rather than a repeat of what has come before.

Usage

We have created code in seven different programming languages to help get you started with Real-time monitoring, each of which can be found below, as well as in our documentation.

NB: Real-time monitoring will only work when you set the sort_by parameter to published_at and sort_direction to desc.

Benefit

The main benefit of this cool new feature is that you can be confident you are receiving the very latest stories and insights, without delay, by creating an automated process that will continue to retrieve relevant content as soon as it is published online. By automating the retrieval of content in real-time, you can cut down on manual input and generate feeds, charts and graphs that will automatically update in real-time.

We hope that you find this new update useful, and we would love to hear any feedback you may have.

To start using our News API for free and query the world’s news content easily, click the image below.

 


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Introduction

In this post, Software Engineer at AYLIEN, Afshin Mehrabani talks us through his experience in building and launching an incredibly popular open source library called Intro.js.

4 years ago, when I started Intro.js as a weekend project I knew it was a useful idea but I didn’t expect to eventually have the likes of Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Amazon using what I had built.

In this post I’ll talk about what sparked the idea for Intro.js, why I open sourced it and what I have learned in the process.

The idea

I originally started Intro.js to use it on a particular product I was working on at the time. I was working as part of a web development team building web-based stock exchange software. The system had many user facing components, tools and widgets and it was a little confusing to use. This meant the support team we worked with spent most of their time on phone calls guiding people on how to use the software, find options, complete trades etc. instead of dealing with the bugs and issues our users had.

Things got even worse when we completely changed the user interface. The support team were working almost exclusively on user interface-related queries and were spending a lot of time guiding users through critical workflows. As you can imagine our support answering the same questions and running thousands of customers through a guided tour just wasn’t efficient.

As a part of the development team, we had to ensure the UI/UX was kept simple and straightforward enough for users to understand the workflow. Which I know is a common problem in software design, but for some web-based portals like this one, it’s an almost impossible task.

Imagine the UI for stock exchange software, it’s made up of many critical moving parts that are paramount to not just the users experience but the software carrying out the job at hand.

 

Metatrader screenshot

Financial software example – source: www.metatrader4.com

These UI’s are busy and complicated and for the most part they need to be. If an object is included in the UI it’s critical to the job at hand. You can’t eliminate any objects from the page and you still need to make it clear enough for users to interact with.

I decided there had to be a better way to improve the usability of the product that didn’t rely on hours and hours of support time. That’s when I came up with the idea to develop a JavaScript and CSS tool that demonstrates the software and its components to the user using a step by step guide. The whole idea is based around a user starting a guided tour as they use the product. This ensures a user sees all the important elements and workflows that are critical to how they use the software.

Introducing Intro.js

The pictures below illustrate some sample steps of a simple Intro.js guide, with the highlighted component, a description of the step and control buttons.

 

Intro.js 1

Intro.js 3

 

Through the control buttons a user can decide to go to the next step, previous step or close the guide.

Although a relatively simple idea after implementing the original version of Intro.js on that project, I realised what I had built could benefit a lot of people who were facing the same problem we had. Which is why I decided to open-source it and let the community use and add to it while of course making some improvements to the code base.

I have now open-sourced almost all of the useful components I built. Not only has this helped a lot of people save time and money, but we’ve also built an active and vibrant community around Intro.js who help maintain the project, add more features, fix bugs and everything else that needs to be done.

In the last year, I have been building on the original offering. Most recently adding the Hints feature. Using this feature, you can add clickable circles to different elements of the webpage with extra descriptions:

 

Intro.js Hints

Intro.js Hints 2

 

Bringing it to the masses

So I had built and validated my idea in a live project and I was pretty sure there was demand out there for something like Intro.js but the challenge was how would I get this into the hands of other developers.

The open source community

After releasing the first version of Intro.js, I created a simple HTML page to demonstrate what it does. I suppose I didn’t think too much about how I was going to find users but I knew from already being actively involved in the open source community that if something was truly useful it would spread and gather pace through the community eventually. I had no idea though that within a couple of days I’d be struggling to keep up with the demand.

To try and get some exposure I decided to submit a post on Hacker News as well as some other dev focused outlets none of which had the effect of Hacker News. Within a couple of hours of the post going live it was gathering some serious interest. Over a couple of days days the post had received about 800 upvotes, 160 comments and the post was on the homepage of Hacker News for two consequent days.

During these two days, I got about 100 pull requests merged and after a month released some other minor versions to address the initial version issues and bugs.

Intro.js was a real hit and I never expected the interest it gathered from users and the hard work of other developers who helped the project by fixing issues, adding features and writing plugins for Angular.js, React, jQuery, etc. However, in saying that, it still probably took about a year to release a stable version of Intro.js that I was happy with.

Since the launch we’ve had some really great companies and developers using Intro.js, it’s been featured on some pretty cool blogs and outlets like Sitepoint and IBM developer works and has collected nearly 15,000 stars on Github.

Maintaining an open-source project

Things get more complicated when you have many many users. You have to be responsible for the product you provide, answer  questions, maintain code, merge pull requests all while also adding more features to the library.

Juggling an open source project, my job at AYLIEN ( we’re hiring BTW  😉 ) and also a Masters course at the university became increasingly difficult and finding new maintainers to work with has also proven quite difficult. Which meant to keep Intro.js alive I needed to look at what options were available.

Licensing

I was unable to devote all of my time to develop and maintain an open-source project. It was clear I needed to hire some more people, mainly web developers, to work on customer queries, fix issues and maintain the project.

Which is why I decided to add a commercial license to Intro.js. I was reluctant to do so in the beginning but after some careful consideration, I’m glad I did. This decision has helped the project a lot; the codebase has improved significantly since, we can now properly serve our users and we can invest more time in adding more features and keeping our users happy.

Adding a commercial license to an open-source project motivates the creators and the maintainers to keep developing the project and release more awesome, useful versions. Since moving to a commercial license we have added a documentation section using Doc42 and moved the Markdown files from Github to introjs.com/docs. Moreover, Intro.js now has an active tag on StackOverflow where developers can tag their questions with Intro.js and get the answer from the awesome community.

Note: There are many open-source licensing options available. You can read more about them here.

What’s next?

We are going to release v3.0 soon which will add responsive tours and many more features. Meanwhile, we are fixing more issues and bugs and v2.5.0 will be released in the next two weeks.

Besides this open-source project, I have developed many other JavaScript projects and they are available here.

Conclusion

I have learned a lot more than I have could have imagined by building and maintaining a real open-source project, I have gained invaluable experience in answering user queries, releasing versions, licensing products and so on and for that reason alone I can say for sure that open sourcing the project was the best decision I made.

Intro.js was a weekend project that turned into a real product and I hope this post gives you the push to go and build something yourself and contribute to the movement or better still to open source something you’ve already built that you think appeals to the masses. Publishing and releasing the first stable version of an open-source project could take you more than a year but during this process, I promise you, you will learn a lot and you’ll have a lot of fun doing it and who knows, you may even get a nice Thank You email from a tech giant ;).





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