Flipora Launches a Smarter StumbleUpon Based on Your Web History
Let me quickly set this story up: In general, there are a few ways to get recommendations on any topic: Ask friends, look to the wisdom of crowds and user reviews, or punch in some past favorites and preferences to build a taste profile.
But perhaps the ultimate way to get recommendations would be to evaluate every single thing a person has ever done, and how much they liked it.
If you’ll accept that premise, now apply it to Web history. Flipora is a new service (actually, a pivot of an older service called Infoaxe) that recommends Web content based on tracking every site a single user visits, how long he or she stays, and whether he or she shares it.
Flipora users install an add-on to their browser — Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer — that tracks their own behavior. The company saves each URL the user visits to the cloud to make a synced and searchable Web history.
The service is private by default; it doesn’t include any sites that are behind a password; and in Firefox, users can specify a blacklist of sites that aren’t sent to the cloud. But you can imagine that this is the kind of thing that people would totally freak out about if someone like Google did it, even though Google already personalizes its search results based on users’ Web histories.
Flipora’s Web history service has actually been available — though it has evolved — for the past four years. Some eight million people have already registered for Infoaxe/Flipora because they like the personal utility. On their behalf, the service indexes 20 million unique Web pages per day.
Now, with the new launch, users can turn on a Flipora sidebar that suggests content they may like, kind of like StumbleUpon. As users click to visit Web pages, the recommendations change. If there’s a particular item that entices them, they can opt to follow broader topics and people. And if they “Like” a certain page, it gets added to their profile, a la Pinterest.
Flipora hits on some buzzword-bingo squares for people who like to theorize about the future of the Internet: Discovery versus search, and interest graph versus social graph.
Actually, Flipora previously launched a real-time search engine based on its users’ Web histories, but the founders told me they ultimately decided they didn’t want to just incrementally improve on Google search. So they turned to the greener fields of discovery.
Flipora is based in Sunnyvale, and raised $3 million in funding from investors including individuals and Labrador Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.