Lumi is an 8 month old startup based in London. They’re launching a news reader today that suggests news stories based on all the web browsing you do when not using their app.
It’s a novel idea, and the developers are hoping that this previously untapped data source will do a better job at helping users find readable content. “Usually the only interaction people have with their browsing history is deleting it,” said Lumi co-founder Felix Miller.
I have not had a chance to use the service yet, but I did sign up. I’m really not happy about adding yet another service to spy on me, but Lumi intrigued me enough that I decided to give it a shot.
Or at least I will try Lumi as soon as it starts suggesting stories. I have been waiting for half an hour and it is still crunching my web history. I have a tendency to break things, so I am not surprised.
Update: It’s now 8 hours later and I have yet to be able to use it.
Luckily for you I do have a user report:
My initial results for topics it thought I was interested in were a little odd — I wouldn’t say that Betaworks represents a quarter of my online reading, for instance.
But it doesn’t particularly seem to matter, since once I went to my Lumi page, the articles it surfaced were all compelling and tailored to my random interests. For example, it knew that I’d be interested in Lena Dunham, the SFO flight crash, Kanye West, Kevin Systrom, Beats, and weird New York behavior, all at the same time. Consider me impressed.
Since I am still waiting to get in to the service, all I can do know is speculate about its wondrousness.
This is an interesting idea but I do wonder if it will end well. There are issues involved in using web history as a source of suggested stories. For example, what if more than one person uses a computer under a single login? That’s going to generate spurious results. And what about the browsing history that we would not want included? Porn, for example, would be a tad out of place.
But the single greatest stumbling block for this service could be that it comes to the market years after its competition. A lot of the browsing that Lumi needs to generate recommendations is now locked up inside of apps like Flipboard, Zite, Instapaper, and so on. That is going to limit Lumi’s effectiveness, I think.
The service is currently only available in the web browser (no apps just yet) but it has reportedly been optimized for smaller screens.