Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Hooked Personalizes App Recommendations Based on Usage

Every smartphone user constantly spews a fountain of data — our locations, our Internet activity and our artsy photos. The big question now is: Whom do we trust to responsibly use all that data to create better, more personalized experiences for us?

Hooked, an Android game-discovery app, wants to be one of those trusted services. The company analyzes user behavior patterns to figure out which games users actually like. Other app-discovery services, like Chomp (now owned by Apple), tend to make recommendations based on more basic data, like starred reviews, and whether a user has ever downloaded an app.

Hooked is hawking the idea that actual usage is a better indicator of whether an app is worth recommending.

Hooked, which launched in January, now includes personalized ratings about which apps it predicts a given user will like based on this activity monitoring.

The app for apps has itself been downloaded three million times.

Hooked is only available for Google Play, and requires user permission to track location, read personal log data and prevent the Android phone or tablet from going to sleep. Techniques like these wouldn’t work on iOS, because Apple does not give third-party developers access to this kind of highly personal tracking.

San Francisco-based Hooked has raised $4.5 million from US Venture Partners and Altos Ventures.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik