Hunch is a social Q&A service that, in effect, says, "people who are like you and who have preferences like yours tend to be happiest with the following answer to that question you're asking." The company reports seeing one million unique visitors last month, and in his own blog post about the announcement, Wales calls the intersection of community and algorithm "the future of the web." "This," he writes, "is what we are going to come to call Web 3.0."
Hunch relies on users providing information about themselves, something they do by answering a series of fun multiple-choice questions. The company says that 28 million of these "Teach Hunch About You" questions have now been answered, and all kinds of interesting correlations can be drawn as a result. Hunch went so far as to write a 13 page report all about the differences it has observed between the self-perception of Mac owners vs. Windows owners.
In another report about the intersection of food choices and political ideologies, the company says it found the following:
- When it comes to choice of lettuce, everyone likes romaine, but conservatives trend heavily towards iceberg and liberals trend heavily towards arugula.
- For kitchen styles, conservatives vote for the wooden, country look and liberals lean towards sleek, stainless steel.
- Conservatives are more likely to drink sugar soda but less likely to drink wine; liberals are more likely to eat vegetarian options and more frequent portions of fruit.
These questions and answers are ostensibly not the point of Hunch, though. The point is to help users make decisions about things like what blue jeans to buy or what neighborhood to move into. The site has undergone some recent design changes and it's unclear that the main Q&A is as compelling or interesting as the Teach Hunch About You part.
Hunch says it aims to become the "Wikipedia for decision making." The sites are clearly similar: both are user-created and curated collections of knowledge. While that's a laudable goal, I haven't found myself going back to it regularly after our initial review. I'm more of an Aardvark kind of guy when it comes to social Q&A. Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise then that Hunch says Jimmy Wales and I have a lot in common demographically but very little in common in our ways of thinking.