Today in Social

As eBay has evolved from its person-to-person auction roots into a retail hub and e-commerce infrastructure provider it has become a pretty aggressive technology acquirer. Its latest move is on the recommendations engine Hunch, possibly for $80 million. Ryan Kim thinks Hunch will be another piece of its e-commerce technology platform, and Hunch’s founders say that eBay will use Hunch on its own site to expose buyers to products that collaborative filtering recommendations would probably miss. Hunch’s engine uses machine learning to understand unstructured data, and makes recommendations based on a user’s social network connections (Likes, who he follows on Twitter, etc.) as well as a Q&A process it uses to tailor a “taste graph.” That’s completely different from the consumer reviews companies that I wrote about in my weekly update, but they’re all parts of next-generation commerce.