“There’s a missing link between web search and these
recommender social systems,” — Dr. Peter Briggs.
HeyStaks, currently available for the Firefox and Chrome browsers, and for the iPhone, with Android, Internet Explorer and dedicated iPad versions in development, brings together their research in the area of social research and recommendation to fill the gap between current recommendation technology and web searching.
HeyStaks works by organising search results or topics into “staks.” According to Peter, “You can create a stak on any topic that you like or you can join existing ones.
“If you have joined a stak on places to eat in Dublin, a search in your web search engine will reveal the standard results, and also the results from that stak. By including your social graph through invitingFacebook or Twitter friends, you can ensure the results are more reflective of your peer group.
“The difference between these HeyStaks results and the standard Google results are that the HeyStaks ones have already been verified by real people, these are results that people like, and have found to be useful in the past, and so you have piece of mind there that it’s not just pages that have been heavily search engine optimised or paid listings.”
Peter points to Google’s +1 and Bing’s incorporation of Facebook “likes” into its search engine as examples of major search players going down a similar road to HeyStaks, but is confident that the socially-customised element of HeyStaks sets it apart from the crowd.
“The difference between what we do and what they do is we allow you to segregate, to partition your social graph based on your interests and the interests of your friends or co-workers. So, for example, you might not trust everybody that you know to provide you with movie recommendations, but you might have a few trusted friends where you know your interests overlap quite a lot, so you can decide to share a movie stak with them or join one that they’ve created and you’ll only get recommendations from those trusted people.”
It is based on technology developed as part of Professor Smyth’s research group and the CLARITY Centre for Sensor Web Technologies, a Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre between University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the Tyndall National Institute.
HeyStaks is representing Ireland at the Vodafone Mobile Clicks 2011 Final which is taking place in Amsterdam. Ahead of presentations by the finalists members of the public can cast their vote for their choice.
Voting closes at 6 pm (CET) on Monday 12 September. Voting only takes 30 secs.