Trapit Discovery Engine Launches, on a ‘Collision Course with Google’

Trapit, a content discovery engine that learns your preferences and behaviors, has entered its open beta stage. While it doesn’t strictly fall into the realm of search, a Trapit co-founder indicates that Google and Trapit are on a collision course.

The Intelligent Trapit Discovery Engine

The idea of “discovery engines,” real-time searches that bring you to content you didn’t know you absolutely needed to see, has been around for a while. Trapit (or Trap!t, if you prefer) takes it to a new level.

They start in much the expected way: you enter a search term and get highly visual, real-time information on the topic. For Trapit, you’ll see a long scrolling list of “traps,” each of which leads to either a single article or a set of related content. On the trap page, you can move to the next or prior results, give each piece of content the thumbs up or thumbs down, share the content via Twitter or Facebook, or save the content for later.

Here’s where it gets good: Trapit uses an advanced user-learning technology to figure out what you like, what’s important to you, and what other content you’re likely to enjoy.

First developed by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the high-IQ artificial intelligence technology, dubbed CALO (or Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes), is right on the cutting edge. That’s as it should be, since DARPA spent $200 million on the project.

It’s not the first new toy that uses the tech, though. The technology is also being used in Apple’s Siri, and the two bear a strong resemblance in capabilities. In fact, Mashable even goes as far as calling the service Siri’s “sister.”

Sneaking Up on Google

While Trapit is quite specifically a discovery engine, not a search engine, they note that competition with Google is not only likely but inevitable. Co-founder Gary Griffiths called Google an online yellow pages, saying that it works well for direct queries but not for getting to new content. As the search giant adapts, Griffiths believes “We’re going to be on a collision course with Google.”

It’s certainly true that Google is interested in additional forms of content discovery. Google+ and the associated +1 button are both ways of accomplishing deeper “discovery” on the SERP, while additional services such as What Do You Love give users a discovery tool designed around Google’s various platforms.

Will the two actually end up colliding? Will Trapit be able to get a competitive edge over the reigning champion? How much do today’s users care about “discovery” versus “search”? Give your thoughts in the comments below.

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