British author Charles Leadbeater said once referring to the Internet, “you are what you share”. However, are those things that we share, the only ones that attract our interest and we spend our time on? Reflecting on this question, the Austrian startup behind Archify has closed down their original project and freshly launched Blippex, a search engine about people and their interests.
On Wednesday, July 24, the Berlin-based startup created by Austrian duo Max Kossatz and Gerald Bäck (see our previous report here), decided to shut down Archify, their browser extension recording users’ activity for an easier archiving developed two years ago, so that they could focus on their new searching tool Blippex, instead.
“We had to decide what to focus on: Archify a steady but slow growing service, or Blippex, which traction is far beyond our expectations.
The team says being sorry for the inconvenience their decision is causing Archify users but justifies its choice. “As a startup you always have to take care about your limited resources and that’s why we decided to make this tough call”, says Bäck.
Blippex, rethinking the search process
Blippex, in brief, collects data from an installed browser extension and uses these data to tell how long one spends on a website. Thanks to an algorithm called Dwellrank, the engines ranks the search results according to the time spent on them and then, gives online community the most popular clicks.
“Until now nearly all search engines are focusing on copying Google and Google is mostly based on the PageRank, which sorts pages by the number of links from other pages, so the more links a page has, the more important it is. But this does not mean that the page is important forpeople“, says Kossatz.
The innovation of this online tool resides in the fact that it is actually constructed by users’ behavior and interest, thus making the results more relevant. However, at the time the Prism scandal is raising concerns about online privacy, the company assures that users’ anonymity is protected, as neither IP addresses nor search terms are saved by Blippex.
The Austrian team plans on remaining based in Berlin, because they believe that the environment is much better for startups. Their main goal now, is to get a lot of internet users to install their extension, “so that we can tune the search algorithm along with the people using the tool. Transparency is really important for us” says Kossatz.