Mogad is the latest startup building a peer-recommendation web service, similar to Facebook’s “news feed” feature.
Unlike Facebook’s closed system, however, Mogad wants to be a “news feed” for the whole web, that can give you recommendations from anything they do. For example, if you’re purchasing a book, Mogad will show you what books your friends are most interested in.
This field is a daunting one, because it’s filled with players. Plaxo’s social network, Pulse, Forbes’ newly-purchased Clipmarks and a number of other sites are working on variations of this same idea. However, Mogad says none of the existing players have provided an adequate way to securely select and invite your friends and control what they’re seeing from you.
Mogad is still in early days, and it’s almost premature to point people to its site — the company is planning a wider launch in the next couple weeks.
It hits the radar mainly because it has just received a first round of investment of half a million dollars from former Google employee Aydin Senkut, who manages Felicis Ventures, and angel investors Peter Thiel and Georges Harik.
The San Francisco-based company uses a browser plugin to collect information about what you and your friends are viewing, then it makes recommendations about things you might find interesting: articles, videos, and so on. It uses both explicit recommendations from your friends and its own software to figure out what you’ll most want to see.
See screenshots below. The plugin has two buttons: One that shows you what friends who have joined Mogad have recommended and one that allows you to send a recommendation to your friends.
For example, if you want to share a part of an article, you can select text from an article and send the text and a link to your Mogad friends.
Mogad offers a range of privacy settings so you can choose to allow only friends or yourself to see what it collects. You can also share your Mogad’ed items with the public on Mogad’s site — or turn the thing off completely if you have very private browsing to do. If need be, you can delete whatever Mogad collects from you.
The plugin is only available for Firefox now, but the company is also working on an Internet Explorer browser plugin.
The company’s founders have computer science backgrounds. One founder, Blake Commagere, a recent Plaxo employee, also developed the popular Facebook third-party applications Zombies and Vampires. Yanda Erlich used to work in product management in both Google’s advertising and consumer web products divisions.
Senkut, who has invested in a number of companies, says this is the first time he will join a company’s board.