02 May 2013

TechCrunch: “Google Buys Wavii For North Of $30 Million”

Wavii closing down, bought by Google
Both Apple and Google were competing for the Seattle-based startup, and Google eventually won. Apple wanted the company, which developed its own aggregation technology and natural summarization algorithms, for its Siri division. The 25-person-strong team, including founder Adrian Aoun, will be moving down from Seattle to join Google’s Knowledge Graph division. Alexia Tsotsis

I’ve been using Wavii since the launch, almost exactly a year ago, and I was impressed with the results of their aggregation and discovery algorithm. The app used a combination of ‘topics’ and social signals to generate a personalized newsfeed based on your chosen interests, a much superior model to following people on and somewhat similar to Quora. And best of all, the app grouped news about the same subject under a single headline so you didn't have to go through many similar articles when some big story hit. It was like my own, personal TechMeme. It would have made a hot addition for ’s ‘recommended’ section – which I always found completely irrelevant – but since that’s out of the picture, I guess the Knowledge Graph will be a good place for it as well.

The app had a lot of problems as well, ranging from slow start-up, crashes, a too complicated way of sharing news – which was improved in version two, but still far from perfect – to the simple fact that very few people used it. Nevertheless I will miss the app and I hope the algorithms will be put to good use by in the future.

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