Walmart have announced the purchase of Kosmix, "a social media filter aggregating information by topic from Web sites, Twitter messages and other sources in real time - a potentially important new way to give shoppers information, and get it from them," the New York Times reported.
Kosmix, a start up based in Mountain View, California, was founded in 2005 by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman whose work in the ecommerce space is well known. They sold a previous company to Amazon in 1998 and helped develop Mechanical Turks for Amazon.
"The first generation of e-commerce was about bringing the store to the Web. The next generation will be about building integrated experiences that leverage the store, the Web and mobile, with social identity being the glue that binds the experience," noted Rajaraman on his blog.
The company will become part of WalmartLabs. Rajaraman said:
"We were so excited when Walmart invited us to share with them our vision for the future of retailing. Walmart is the world's largest retailer, with 10.5 billion customer visits every year to their stores and 1.5 billion online - 1 in 10 customers around the world shop Walmart online, and that proportion is growing. More and more visitors to the retail stores are armed with powerful mobile phones, which they use both to discover products and to connect with their friends and with the world."
On that topic, Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart's vice chairman said, "Social networking and mobile applications are increasingly becoming a part of our customers' day-to-day lives globally, influencing how they think about shopping, both online and in retail stores."