Finnish Startups Take Advantage Of Obama's Web Presence

    U.S. President Barack Obama and his campaign organizers aren’t afraid to tap into new technology if it helps spread his message. Aside from the obvious Facebook and Twitter profiles, Obama uses Foursquare for check-ins on the campaign trail, and uses Square (think iZettle) to take donations on the go, and is even on Instagram. Now we’ve seen two Helsinki-based startups– ThingLink and Transfluent— operating in and around President Obama’s web presence.

    Helsinki-based startup ThingLink has seen its rich contextual images officially used on the President’s campaign website. So far, the only ThingLinked image i’ve found popped up about a week ago, and highlights the winners of the fundraising drive, “Dinner with Barack and Michelle.” The campaign chose to use ThingLink to highlight individual blog posts based around an invited couple’s story, highlight quotes from guests, lead to more pictures, and promote the next dinner with Barack fundraising drive.

    ThingLink images have already spread across the web, and have been used in their fair share of promotions by many public figures and corporations. But being used by the Obama campaign must add a nice sense of legitimacy.

    The original image can be found in context here.

    And to tap into the popularity of the U.S. president, Helsinki-based Transfluent
    has begun instantly translating President Obama’s twitter account to Spanish in real time using professional translators. The Twitter account, @Obama_es has jumped to over 11 000 followers in about a month.

    The Transfluent translations are not officially sponsored by the Obama campaign, but it has generated a good deal of press for Transfluent and successfully shows off a real-world example of how their fast and flexible translation services could be leveraged. And with the growing demographics of Hispanic voters in the U.S., an officially sponsored translation service for a political campaign may not be too far off in the future.

    Update: Jani Penttinen from Transfluent responded to some questions and says,

    “We have been in close contact with the Obama campaign since the beginning. They are loving it and basically they have given us their blessing to keep going after verifying that the translations are of high quality.

    “We are growing fast and expanding both to the US and Asia, where we just opened an office Singapore. You may know we raised a round of funding in December and got accepted to Tekes Young Innovative Companies part 2 (NIY-2) last month, which provides significant added funding.

    My recent trip to the US as part of the Alex Stubb delegation was a success and big things are happening, but nothing to tell just yet!”

    Photo used under a Creative Commons license by flickr user The Official White House Photostream