Lumi, the latest venture from Last.fm founders Felix Miller and Martin Stiksel, opens its doors to the public today
Lumi is a slick web discovery platform which delivers personalised suggestions of content for users. Using a browser extension, Lumi tracks users’ browsing data to work out what content users might find interesting, and then recommends it to users.
A key point is that users do not need to select categories, tick boxes or subscribe to feeds – by just browsing and using the web as normal, the Lumi extension finds news, information, entertainment and products to personally recommend to users, based on keyword extraction.
“Users are bombarded with requests to add, like and follow all the time. Lumi does all the hard work for you, and delivers dynamic recommendations without ever having to update what or who you are interested in,” says Lumi co-founder Felix Miller.
From today, Lumi is open for the public to sign up and install the Chrome, Firefox of Safari extension.
“We thought it is a real shame that we’ve been using the web for so many years, yet every day we start with a clean slate and the web has no idea what we’re interested in,” adds Martin Stiksel, Miller’s business partner. “With Lumi, you put your browsing data to work so you can discover new content.”
From Last.fm to Lumi
Based from London, Lumi is funded entirely by Miller and Stiksel, the former founders of music discovery site Last.fm, which was sold for $280m to CBS in 2007. The founders have been working on Lumi for two years, with a team of nine developers, including some former Last.fm staff (“They already ‘get’ how to use data, it’s like a religion to them,” says Miller).
The idea for Lumi came to the co-founders after selling Last.fm in 2007, the co-founders tell Tech City News.
“After Last.fm, we kind of retired – we wanted to take a breather,” Miller explains. “But this idea kept nagging us, of taking the Last.fm principle of un-used data that people generate anyway, and applying it to trying to find stuff online, which is time consuming. Putting users’ browsing data to work could be a really big idea. We thought this could be ‘hot shit’, and it could be on a much larger scale than Last.fm, because everything is online nowadays – products, movies, hotels, news, and more.”
Stiksel adds that by using users’ browsing data, they can find out what is popular: “We’re looking at the raw data of how many people are looking at page x, and this tells us if it’s popular or not, based on social signals. We have a way of establishing what the ‘hot’ items are and create a noise-free data set that we can intersect with the user. It’s a totally new way of finding stuff.”
Lumi can recommend anything to users. It isn’t only based on the major news outlets – if an obscure blog is viewed by users with a Lumi extension, it can trend and be suggested to other users, if it matches their profile.
“But the great thing is that it isn’t any extra work for the user. It all happens automatically and changes with you. If your interest change, it will evolve with you and the recommendations will change accordingly,” explains Stiksel.