Remember when Facebook didn’t have a News Feed? At the time, it seemed great, but now, most users would be lost without the feed that keeps them up to date on everything their friends do.
Since the idea worked for Facebook, does that mean it can work for the whole Web? Adrian Aoun thinks it can and believes the proof lies in his startup Wavii, which recently launched into public beta.
Would you like to have a Facebook-like News Feed for all your news and information? Please share your thoughts.
As he explained to WebProNews, Wavii wants to make a Facebook out of Google. In other words, Wavii aggregates all the information that users typically go to Google for and puts it in a format similar to that of Facebook’s News Feed. This information goes beyond what your friends and family post and actually incorporates the big data problem that so many people are trying to solve.
Wavii attempts to unlock this information by teaching computers to understand “natural language.” Aoun acknowledges that this is no small task but believes it is necessary in giving consumers information in a format they want.
“We’ve taught our machines – our system, our engine – to kind of understand these thousands and thousands of concepts that people talk about,” he said. “What’s cool is that it’s learning more and more concepts everyday, much like you.”
“We’re kinda going past what a Google or a Bing does,” added Aoun.
Although Wavii aggregates and indexes information, much like a search engine would do, it doesn’t consider itself in the same way. Instead of indexing the content on each page, Aoun told us that Wavii finds the meaning behind each page and indexes it, which he believes is a clear evolution of search.
Another reason it doesn’t equate itself to a search engine is due to the user experience. With a search engine, users constantly click links that send them away from the page, but with Wavii, users stay and discover, just like they would on Facebook.
The challenging part to such a service, however, is the accuracy of the information. Raymie Stata, Yahoo’s former Chief Technology Officer, told CNN that making sure the information is correct is the hard part, not the analyzing of the information.
“What we do our best at is reporting the facts of what’s being reported on the Web,” pointed out Aoun.
He laughingly went on to say that Wavii would work on its accuracy right after it invents the toaster that walks. Putting the jokes aside, he did tell us that Wavii tries to remove the bias by pulling the meat of what’s being said and not the opinion. For example, if someone wrote, “I can’t believe Facebook bought Instagram,” Wavii would only include “Facebook bought Instagram” into its feed. One of the company’s goals going forward is to insert user opinions beneath the “fact,” but Aoun said it would be a while before that happens.
In terms of the social side of Wavii, users can join the service through Facebook Connect and, in the near future, Twitter. It also runs on a follow system much like Twitter or Path. According to Aoun, this model alleviates building a new network of friends. Wavii users can also customize their feeds to follow specific topics of interest as well as show various emotions to their feeds including “surprise,” “love,” and “anger.”
Aoun believes Wavii is distinguishable from StumbleUpon, Flipboard, and other similar services, since it allows users to sort through masses of information without reading all the details. He said it gives users more control by combining an information mining service and a reader-type service into one experience.
“We’re trying to unlock all the meaning on the Web and give users kind of that control or that power over everything that’s out there,” he pointed out.
Ultimately, Wavii wants to take all the information it can get, and present it in a way that users can best digest it. In other words, it hopes to go beyond search engines and also solve the problem of big data through a Facebook-like solution, which is fascinating. The question is, can Wavii succeed with this ambitious goal?