Using algorithms to give personalized recommendations is hard. A lot of online services try to leverage their users’ social graphs to determine the stories, books, songs or movies that are potentially of interest to them. Given that your own interests can be quite different from those of your friends, though, these systems are often limited. my6sense, on the other hand builds a personalized and constantly evolving profile for all of its users and provides recommendations purely based on what its algorithm thinks is most likely to be interesting to you. Starting today, Android users will be able to find the most interesting items in their RSS, Twitter, Facebook and Google Buzz feeds with the help of My6Sense.
My6Sense: The Basics
At its core, My6Sense is a recommendation engine that focuses on highlighting the best stories in your feed subscriptions. The software can also point you towards the most interesting stories that your friends have shared on social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google Buzz (support for Buzz is currently only available in the Android app). It learns about your reading habits by evaluating a number of signals while you are using the service. Among other things, these signals include which stories you click on, how long you read a story and which stories you share. Instead of just giving you a chronological list of recent stories, my6sense does away with this traditional feed reader model and uses its “digital intuition” to organize your streams according to your interests.
We have been tracking the development of my6sense for almost two years now. Most recently, we covered the hire of Louis Gray as the company’s VP of Marketing and first U.S. employee. As Gray told us yesterday, launching the Android version of my6sense is an important step for the company, as it will allow a wider variety of users to experience My6Sense’s abilities. Until now, My6Sense was only available on the iPhone.
New on Android: Support for Google Buzz
When you think about successful social networks, Google Buzz is probably not on the top of your list. As Gray noted, no matter the popular perception of Buzz, the quality of the stories that its users are sharing on the service is very high. Because of this, adding support for Buzz in the Android app makes sense for my6sense.
Besides support for Buzz, the Android app also features a number of nice tweaks that will hopefully make it to the iPhone app as well. You can now, for example, add a time filter to any stream, so that you won’t see items that are more than 24 hours old, for example. The Android app also does a better job at displaying messages from your friends on the various supported social networks.
Looking Ahead: The Power of the My6Sense API
As a personalized RSS reader, my6sense is already a very interesting product, but the real power of the company is in its APIs. For now, my6sense only has a few partners (a business social networking site in the UK and the largest mobile operator in Israel), but the company’s technology looks to be flexible enough to make sense in a variety of contexts. As Gray pointed out when we talked to him, the mobile apps are really just demos for the powerful back end that the My6Sense team has developed. It’s not hard to imagine places where the my6sense API could help. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could come to a site like ReadWriteWeb or the New York Times, for example, and just see the stories that would be of interest to you?