News aggregator Wavii wants to build you a Facebook news feed that covers any topic you’re interested in.
“With Wavii, we are building feed items for everything on the planet, not just your friends,” Wavii’s chief executive Adrian Aoun told VentureBeat.
Facebook’s news feed is great, Aoun said, because it’s full of small, easy-to-digest, bits of information. Instead of reading a lengthy email from a friend about her trip overseas, you can see her status updates, check-ins, and photos of the hot guy she met in Rome. You can also hide certain types of updates from your feed, because really, who cares that your friend found a cow in Farmville?
But, as Aoun pointed out, the world is not so simple. We get our news from Twitter, RSS feeds, emails, and websites, but we still read all the chatter and are inundated with more information than we can handle. It’s also not easy to find all the information about a person or topic in any given day.
Wavii’s service connects with your Facebook account, naturally, and learns what you are interested in based on what you’ve “liked” on Facebook. Once you sign up, you can choose which people and topics you want to stay informed about, and they will be added your Wavii feed.
The technology behind the service is unique. The crawler used to find the news uses natural language processing to understand what’s been written and figure out its meaning. The crawler has been programmed to understand context and patterns in written English, so if someone uses flowery language to describe a corporate merger, it can still understand that company A bought company B.
So if you tell Wavii you like Apple and you want to follow news about the company, Wavii will pull obvious results, such as a new iPad or iPhone launch, but will also pull in the news that Ashton Kutcher is playing Steve Jobs in a movie.
Wavii crawls the latest news on your preferred topics to make up your feed. In order to make sure you don’t get duplicates or blatantly false information, Wavii uses several metrics to find legitimate content.
“Our crawler looks at the traffic of a source, spread of the source, how quickly the new is being talked about, and reputation of source on the topic,” said Aoun, “Wavii is not a truth engine; we won’t tell you what’s true, we’ll tell you what’s being reported as true.”
Wavii looks like a mashup between Twitter and Facebook. The service has social aspects, but it also encourages you to share the news you find on your favorite social network. It is similar to Zite in that it provides personalized news results based on topics. Zite however, relies on tags used in online articles to find news about a topic.
Wavii faces competition from Google News, which displays the news about any search term if available and offers email alerts for any keyword.
The service launches Tuesday evening and will soon include the ability to sign up with Twitter, for those who don’t really use Facebook. Wavii is based in Seattle, Washington.
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