Worio is 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.
Here are some notes from my conversation with Ali Davar, the CEO of Worio:
- 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.
Getting people to use Worio might be 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. Which means we don't know how useful Worio could be to our search experience.