03:14 AM

Worio: Adding Discoverability To Search Through Social Means


Woriois an interesting startup spun out of the Laboratory of Computational Intelligence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Its service aims to improve search results by adding "discoverability" to each search query.

The idea is to use machine intelligence to mine a user's activities and relationships on the social web, and then produce relevant results based on an individual model of the user.

This morning I met with Ali Davar, the CEO of Worio. Here are some notes from our conversation:

- We believe that search has reached a level of maturity and that further improvements will be incremental. So what's next? We believe it is something in-between search and the recommendation services such as Stumbleupon or Digg. Our intention is not to out-Google Google.

- The web is messy. It's easy to find things when you know what you are looking for but there is a whole lot more that you didn't know was there. You don't know how much there is that you don't know. We always underestimate the extent of what we don't know. That's what our discovery engine will show you.

- We look at what you tag, what you share, what your friends recommend, and we look at what you do, and then we construct an individual model. We also look at what others are doing, tagging, and sharing.

- We auto tag pages because the way people tag is often very personal to them. Combined with algorithms and personalization technologies, we create a layer of topicality which we then marry with your informational model to deliver relevant results.

- We auto tag also to clean up the data, to get rid of spam, and also to remove the inherent ambiguity of human tagging.

- We work with whichever search engine you use, it doesn't matter.

- Our revenue model will ultimately be advertising but for now we are concentrating on maturing the service.

- We have been around for four years, the first two years part-time. We have raised $3m from angels and are now raising a Series A round.

Foremski's Take: Worio has an interesting service. It can also be used as a handy tool to help people organize their travels around the web, so in that sense, it can act like a service such as Evernote. It will keep cached pages of anything you tag or save. And you can share those pages with friends.

Getting people to use Worio is challenging because, as Mr Davar points out, "we don't know the extent of what we don't know" therefore we don't know how much we are missing when we search using key words. However, Worio has identified a key space that is under served and where there is potentially tremendous amounts of value to be found.

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Please see:

Guest post by Ali Davar: Search's Quest to Capture the Zeitgeist

...Google seems to be effortlessly maintaining its vast market share. But for how long? A recent survey found 62 percent of Internet users would be willing to switch search engines and 45 percent of all respondents said "better search results" would make them switch. What are these elusive "better" results users seek? In the Internet age of real-time content, desired results are less about static information and more about tapping into of-the-moment conversations around a topic.