Most people in the world discover websites through their Twitter and Facebook feeds—and that model is irretrievably broken, according to the chief executive of Flipora, whose new web site discovery engine tries to sense your mood instead.
“If you open Facebook right now, you’ll see stories like ‘What this waitress does next will make you smile’,” Jonathan Siddharth said. “It panders to the lowest common denominator.”
More to the point, they’re web sites that your friends want you to see, and not necessarily what you want to see, Siddharth added. Flipora, which already boasts 20 million users, hopes that the next generation of its recommendation engine helps change all that.
But like any recommendation engine, Flipora works best when it knows you. And to know you, it needs your data. While there are over 3,000 interests that you can manually follow—up from just 30 in the first revision—Flipora will also ask for your Facebook and Twitter data, and even your browser history. Siddharth says that it tunes out if a user starts viewing pornography, for example, and completely ignores HTTPS-encoded pages, such as your bank. Still, there’s undoubtedly a degree of trust involved.
As you surf, however, Flipora can pop out a widget from the side of your browser, so that you’ll know where to surf next, based on your interests. In some sense, this is just another approach to a Flipboard or a related app, which curates articles of interest for you. But Flipora’s Siddharth also claims that its recommendations are up to the minute, so you’ll receive the freshest news, fast.
You only have so many hours in the day, so recommendations—whether they be for new music, films, or otherwise can save you time. As always, however, remember that free services always have a price.
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As PCWorld's senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.