Flipora adds Discovery to Web History Search – The Past Meets the Future

We have some exciting news to announce regarding one of the biggest updates to the core Flipora product (previously called Infoaxe) since Vijay and I built the first version while we were still grad students at Stanford. But before we get to that, some updates on how the web history search engine is doing.

How fast are we growing?

Hot on the heels of winning Red Herring Magazine’s Top 100 Most Innovative Companies in N.America Award, Flipora crossed 8M users last week! We are growing by almost 25K users/day.

What does Flipora do now?

Over the years the Flipora product has gone through several design improvements while still keeping the core use case almost identical to what it was when we launched. We make it easy for users to keep track of all the great websites they visit so they can easily search and find it later. With our addons for Chrome (recently launched), FF and IE you will never forget a webpage again. Ever. Web History search is an incredibly powerful product that has helped us get to 8M users. This was and is the foundation for everything we do at Flipora. This is our platform and it is making a lot of exciting applications possible. Applications that leverage the data generated by this platform.

What is Flipora launching today?
A Discovery Engine best described as a ‘Pandora for Websites’

The big announcement today is that we are adding Discovery to Web History Search. We’ve been making it easy for our users to go back to where they’ve been in the past (with web history search). What we’re announcing today is a way for users to discover where to go next (based on where they’ve been in the past). Just like Pandora offers recommendations for music based on music you like, we help you discover great new websites based on the ones you already like. The recommendation engine is currently in Beta. Expect it to continue to improve rapidly in the coming months. It also gets better the more you use it.

What makes Flipora unique?


Flipora’s recommendations are based on two primary sources of data.
A. A user’s individual web browsing history

B. The aggregate, anonymized attention data we collect on websites from our user base as a whole. We index ~20M websites/day or close to 6 times the size of wikipedia each day. We know the pages users spend a lot of time on, frequently revisit etc, effectively giving us a handle on the ‘pulse of the planet’. Another thing that’s great about this data is that its fresh. We know what’s popular today on topics you care about.

We are incredibly lucky to have access to this kind of data, thanks to the continuing success of our web history search engine. In fact, when we started Flipora one of the main aspects of the product that excited us was the prospect of the kinds of ways in which we can build more and more value into the product, the bigger we became.

Why build a Discovery Engine for the Web?

Unlike Web Search, which is a fairly mature space that has been developed a good deal due to great search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo! (Inktomi of the past), we think the space of Discovery is still very very nascent (similar how web search was in 90s). The battle lines are still being drawn. Discovery of relevant information on the Web is a huge problem with no great solutions at the moment.

There are 2 broad forms of Discovery.

A. Social Discovery:
You discover websites based on what your friends or people you follow, share. The best examples of this are links shared on the Facebook news feed and the Twitter feed. Companies like FlipBoard, Delicious are great examples too of products built on top of data that users explicitly contribute with attribution. Although this is a good start, we believe this is still scratching the surface in terms of helping users discover great websites that they are truly interested in. Just like the assumption that you are interested in ALL the movies your friends are interested in, is deeply flawed and verifiably untrue (substitute movies by music, food, tastes in shopping etc and this still holds), it’s safe to say you’re not interested in ALL the websites your friends share on Facebook or Twitter. Twitter does a little better than Facebook in this regard because of the asymmetric nature of the follow relationship but you still need to do quite a bit of work to set things up. You need to know who are interesting people to follow on the topics you care about. Discovering the best of the Web on topics you care about might not be the core use case of services like Facebook and Twitter.
You need a better way to Discover the Web.

What about Web Search? Can Search solve the Discovery problem?
Not really. Web Search works only when you know exactly what you’re looking for. For eg. I love crazy car stunts and so totally enjoyed this video I discovered on Flipora, of Ken Block jumping his rally car 171 feet in the air. I would have never found this by search since I never knew it existed. It’s extremely unlikely that I would discover it through my social networks on Facebook or Twitter as well (and I didn’t) given the marginal overlap in interests with friends for the most part.

B. Algorithmic Discovery:
With an algorithmic approach, discovery gets a bit more structured. You declare the topics you’re interested in and then the recommendation engine helps you discover great content on these topics. StumbleUpon is probably one of the best known companies in this space. We think StumbleUpon has built a great product and brand over the last 11 years or so and is one of the earliest companies to begin thinking about Discovery. Wavii and Zite are also likely in the same algorithmic discovery space. See this post by Zite CEO Mark Johnson on the limitations of Social Discovery.

Flipora falls squarely in the algorithmic end of this space except that our recommendation engine relies on data (web browsing history) and technology (algorithms for mining this data to make interesting recommendations) unique to our product. We are very excited about building a uniquely differentiated discovery engine that truly understands users interests based on both ones they explicitly declare and the ones implicitly declared (from web browsing history).

We also have Social Recommendations (from Facebook) but that is a relatively small part of the product for now.

How do you use Flipora’s new Discovery feature?

Simple. Follow topics you care about. Follow people you believe contribute interesting content on topics you care about. To get started you don’t even need to follow anyone. Pick topics and begin Flipping. Our recommendation engine gets better and better as you use it since it learns what you’re interested in and what kind of content you like.

Flipora’s discovery engine connects a user to topics(interests) she cares about. Some people in the industry call this the Interest Graph. This set of topics is of course a dynamic set since interests change with time and there is only a handful of topics that might be top of mind for you at any point. Here are some thoughts by Vinod Khosla, Max Levchin and Bill Gurley on this topic. We think this is the evolution of Web Search where we move towards a “Find without Searching” model.

We are just getting started and our recommendation engine is still in Beta. Expect the recommendation quality to vastly improve over the next few months as we collect more data and fine tune our algorithms. We already have some big updates to the core recommendation algorithm coming up in the next month. To keep improving we need you, our loyal users to keep using the product, giving us your feedback on things we can do better and your suggestions for new features.





Go head and start Flipping! Discover the best of the Web. Use the magic of web history search to keep track of pages you love.

The Flipora Team

We are still a fairly small team relative to the size of our user base. Vijay and I are lucky to work with an amazing team to continue onward with our mission of building the best discovery engine on the planet that truly understands what users want and gives it to them before they know to search for it. Great discoveries can Inspire, Inform, Entertain and spark something that can change the World. We want to do our small part to enable that.

-Jonathan & Vijay
Founders, Flipora by Infoaxe.

16 comments

  1. [...] the company, which rebranded to Flipora late last year, posted: ”We make it easy for users to keep track of all the great websites they visit so they can [...]

  2. [...] today releases a “Pandora for Web sites” that will help users discover new content based on their [...]

  3. How is flipora different from stumbleUpon?…

    This is Jonathan Siddharth, (founder of Flipora). Will add a more detailed answer later. But the section under “What makes Flipora unique?” in our blog post that went live today http://blog.flipora.com/2012/06/22/flipora-announcemen/ should answer yo…

  4. [...] today releases a “Pandora for Web sites” that will help users discover new content based on their [...]

  5. [...] actualiza su sistema ofreciendo ahora un sistema inteligente de recomendación de páginas web. Hasta ahora se trataba [...]

  6. [...] actualiza su sistema ofreciendo ahora un sistema inteligente de recomendación de páginas web. Hasta ahora se trataba [...]

  7. [...] actualiza su sistema ofreciendo ahora un sistema inteligente de recomendación de páginas web. Hasta ahora se trataba [...]

  8. [...] actualiza su sistema ofreciendo ahora un sistema inteligente de recomendación de páginas web. Hasta ahora se trataba [...]

  9. [...] announcement last week about adding Discovery to our Web History Search Engine and hitting the 8M user mark [...]

  10. patricia · ·

    Hi I like your new discovery. This is my first time user of entering your site, but I have to admit its quite interesting. Keep ut up.

  11. [...] Flipora is growing incredibly fast. [...]

  12. [...] users worldwide. Our 10 Million users come from nearly 218 Countries/Territories. When we launched the Flipora Discovery Engine we were extremely excited to see the positive reactions from the tech blogosphere. TechCrunch, [...]

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    It’s a result of the fire displayed in the article I looked at. And on this article Flipora adds Discovery to Web History Search – The Past Meets the Future The Flipora Blog. I was moved enough to post a comment :) I do have 2 questions for you if you don’t mind.
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  15. […] over thirty different topics, and an infinite list of recommendations for the same, Infoaxe’s Flipora is an information hub. As a self-proclaimed music fanatic, I spend at least an hour every day, […]

  16. […] all, This has been an insanely exciting, record breaking year at Flipora which is a discovery engine that recommends new websites to users based on their interests. This was the year the Flipora rocketship truly crossed over into the mainstream in terms of usage […]

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