Last.fm founders debut web discovery tool based on browser history

12/07/2013

The founders of music discovery site last.FM are launching a new online content aggregator based around a user’s web history.

The site, Lumi.do., works as a browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox, and uses the browsing history to suggest related content including news, arts, sport and entertainment.

Felix Miller and Martin Stiksel sold Last FM for £140m to the American media company CBS in 2007.

The pair are keen to show the service will anonomise data to protect privacy.

Lumi doesn't collect user data but presents different suggestions based on their local browsing history, so results improve and update as the user keeps browsing. A side menu offers more tailored options for certain subjects.

“The browsing history is owned by the user and securely put onto our platform, only the user has access to it,” Stiksel insisted. “We are not interested in the data from a commercial point of view.”

“It’s time to re-evaluate the relationship between companies that collect a lot of data and users,” he said. “We are saying to the user you own the data but there’s a lot of stuff you can do with it, we are trying to give you a platform where you can put this data to use.”

The pair, who are German but live in England, claim their aggregated site will be easier to use and more personalised than social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter . “We want to create effortless discovery where the user comes whenever they feel like it and every time they do they have a great experience which is responsive to their tastes, rather than them having to tweak it all the time and make sure everything is up to date,” said Martin.

The two claimed that by basing themselves in Hackney, east London, they were able to offer a real alternative to the “soup of technology start-ups” in California. “It allowed us to come up with a new spin,” said Martin.

For the small team of nine, the focus is to build the service out beyond the trial user base of 10,000 people. The next challenge will be to build for mobile devices, where most data is inaccessible and couldn't be used to customise Lumi's results.

After that, there's even scope for a smart TV app, said Miller.

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