Wowd, a Silicon Valley-based search venture, is a buzzword extravaganza.Trying to explain
Using cloud architecture and crowdsourced data on web pages, this real-time discovery and recommendation engine ranks pages based on whether users actually visited them and returns results from all over the web, not just a handful of indexed pages. Read on for the details on Wowd's technology, a video interview with their CEO, and yes, invitations to join the private beta.
It's a downloaded app, but it runs in a browser. Personal information isn't stored on a centralized server, and no registration is required; yet browsing history is saved to recommend more personally relevant and interesting content.
The cloud arichitecture - that is, the distribution of processing power and bandwidth needed to power real-time indexing across all user desktops - allows Wowd to acheive a monumental feat core to their value proposition: Real-time indexing of the entire web, not just a handful of sites and not just pages linked to from real-time social sites. Essentially, it's the same kind of P2P network technology that makes Skype or SETI@home possible; all the nodes in the network share bandwidth-intensive tasks, such as indexing the entire Internet in real time.
Here's how the indexing and ranking work: Each time a user who has downloaded and installed Wowd visits a website, without his taking any further action, that page is "voted up" on Wowd. Conceptually, it's a little bit like Digg or Hacker News in that the number of users rather than keywords, backlinks, or timeliness, determine ranking.
At scale, this could mean that Wowd would be a more workable version of the human-powered search engine, which their team believes will always generate more interesting results than a machine-powered search engine.
Wowd is funded by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), KPG Ventures, and the Stanford University Engineering Venture Fund. Their team includes startup vets with a total of four successful exits and experience working on projects such as the Intel P6 processor and technology for surface operations on Mars.
Check out this interview with Wowd CEO Mark Drummond, conducted by Tim Reha:
In terms of data privacy, Wowd's system doesn't look at local files, Wowd searches, IP addresses, personal behavior, secure pages or pages that require a login, or any sites "blacklisted" in a user's settings. And of course, Wowd's default setting blocks their gathering data on any adult-content pages; that is to say, all your pr0n will still belong to you.
The first 300 ReadWriteWeb readers to click here will also be able to join Wowd's private beta and experience firsthand the magic of human-powered recommendations.