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Every single day. Every game you play. Every click you make....
December 16, 2011 10:59 AM   Subscribe

The concept behind VoyURL is simple: A browser plugin records your every click, which you can then choose to share publicly in a real-time feed. Their website analyzes and shows you your online history in customized infographics, to identify patterns, recommend content and help you learn more about the way you use the internet. You can see the browsing history of all users in one giant timeline or follow a specific user. The service is currently in beta, but you can slip in here or here.

The company had set up a kickstarter page with more information, which is now fully funded.

Sitesimon provides a similar service.

Articles/Interview

The site has some privacy safeguards, but some are still voicing concerns.

VoyURL: A Cool, Creepy Way to Browse the Web

"It’s like StumbleUpon, without the stumbling."

Interview with founder Adam Leibsohn on PSFK.
posted by zarq (35 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd imagine it will work exactly as well as those music recommending algorithms do, right?
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:02 AM on December 16, 2011


Joy. Why try and install spyware when you can get suckers to do it for you?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:04 AM on December 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Woops, according to my private records I posted without clicking on the links first. I'll be right back.

Maybe we could build a metafilter plug in for this, to tag our public profiles with the links we've actually clicked. ;)
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:05 AM on December 16, 2011


In case anyone is curious, the VoyURL folks gave private 'join our beta' urls for editors at a number of publications to provide to their readers this summer, including Technologizer and The Next Web. Those links were included in articles that were posted online, and are still active.
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on December 16, 2011


porn porn porn porn porn MeFi porn porn porn porn
posted by lumpenprole at 11:06 AM on December 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


So many of these services try and fail by taking the algorithmic approach to what Mefi, Boing Boing and Reddit does. Also, sacrificing so much privacy just to get content recommendations doesn't make sense.

Full why-is-foci-butthurt-about-this disclosure: I had a similar idea just a couple of months ago. But the idea wasn't to recommend content, but to encourage site visitors to interact with each other using art and infographics. Like a social layer upon a site where users can create their community without being controlled by site owners. The difficult part with these services in financing and finding a model where you don't pimp out your users' data.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:10 AM on December 16, 2011


Stagger Lee: "I'd imagine it will work exactly as well as those music recommending algorithms do, right?"

Foci for Analysis: "But the idea wasn't to recommend content,"

Worth noting that recommending content is only one of the things the site supposedly does. Personally, I find it interesting (per the fast company articles) that it can break down user browsing habits into such fine detail.
posted by zarq at 11:12 AM on December 16, 2011


Reminds me a bit of watching search queries in real time on Metacrawler in the late 90s, which was highly entertaining for about 10 minutes. I was poking around the other day for a modern version of that and here it is.
posted by Lorin at 11:12 AM on December 16, 2011


You know, a hole in my head may actually be more welcome than this.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:15 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


to identify patterns, recommend content and help you learn more about the way you use the internet.
Because I really need to "learn more about how I use the internet"?

Anyway, this doesn't seem like a particularly useful thing, sure *you* might get some pretty graphs but this company is the real winner, getting a ton of data bout it's users, etc.
posted by delmoi at 11:15 AM on December 16, 2011


Maybe we could build a metafilter plug in for this, to tag our public profiles with the links we've actually clicked. ;)

It would be pretty interesting to see how many people in a given thread have RTFA. Get a little counter to show up by everyone's username in-thread for number of comments vs. number of links clicked in the FPP. And then: mass executions.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:16 AM on December 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


And then: mass executions.

Every set of steps needs to end with that one:

Turn on fry-o-lator.
Put oil inside.
Wait for it to heat up.
Throw in frozen fries and press button.
Wait for the beep, empty fries.
Mass executions.
posted by griphus at 11:19 AM on December 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Keep your data to yourself. No problem. Adjust your settings to "private" and no one will ever see what you're doing online.

Except, of course, Voyurl and the people they choose to hire, the marketers who will pay lots of money for access, the hackers who will inevitably gain access, and the governments they choose to share that data with. Other than that, yeah, it's totally private.
posted by cmonkey at 11:25 AM on December 16, 2011 [6 favorites]



It would be pretty interesting to see how many people in a given thread have RTFA. Get a little counter to show up by everyone's username in-thread for number of comments vs. number of links clicked in the FPP. And then: mass executions.


I'll help to dig the mass grave if it'll keep me off the watch list.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:37 AM on December 16, 2011


I think I'm less worried about the privacy angle, than being confronted evidence of the huge amount of time I waste on the Internet.
posted by carter at 11:37 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well just sign up with an anonymous name and email.
posted by stbalbach at 11:38 AM on December 16, 2011


Well just sign up with an anonymous name and email.

The more I read, the less I believe such things exist.
posted by Mooski at 11:52 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


good god almighty, do we need to share EVERYTHING?

brb, pooping.
posted by desjardins at 11:58 AM on December 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't see this going wrong in any way.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 11:59 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Welcome to the Zuckerworld.
posted by zomg at 12:19 PM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


> The more I read, the less I believe such things exist.

This little web start-up isn't exactly the NSA. Anon email will be sufficient to hide your true identity from them. If your still worried, your either irrationally paranoid, or your doing stuff on the web one should be paranoid about.
posted by stbalbach at 12:46 PM on December 16, 2011


Wait, I thought that was the premise of the third ep of Black Mirror?
posted by AtalantaPendragonne at 12:48 PM on December 16, 2011


At least they chose a suitably creepy name for their creepy idea. Honesty is the best policy.
posted by Pathos Bill at 12:51 PM on December 16, 2011


RescueTime does something similar - except instead of aggregating your browsing with everyone else's browsing to provide recommendations, it aggregates your browsing with everyone else's browsing to tell you how relatively productive you are being in your Internet and computer use.

I like quanta, but that weirds me out a bit. I've installed it twice, and then cleared my data and then deleted the application. But if you are the boss of a small business, it might be a useful thing to play with.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:54 PM on December 16, 2011


> Anon email will be sufficient to hide your true identity from them.

Did you read the part about how they see every single thing you do on the web?

If you look at nothing more than the URLs in my browsing history from just the past few hours, you can figure out that I am one of maybe two or three different people, and a little bit of thinking/investigation or just a longer record can bring that down to one easily enough.

Granted, they probably don't care about me. It's the data leaks, inadvertent or otherwise, that bring the data to a different audience that might be of concern.
posted by whatnotever at 1:03 PM on December 16, 2011


Fabulous. I wonder how long it will take before this "service" will be required by law. You know, to "protect the children" and to "prevent terrorism".

Naturally though, legislators and law-enforcement members will be exempt for "security reasons".
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:07 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


This little web start-up isn't exactly the NSA. Anon email will be sufficient to hide your true identity from them. If your still worried, your either irrationally paranoid, or your doing stuff on the web one should be paranoid about.

Actually, it was anon email that I was skeptical of - these folks look like they're simply omitting the face from facebook.
posted by Mooski at 1:24 PM on December 16, 2011


Hey, you know what I would like? A browser that organizes my favorites automatically in order of times-I-click-on-them-each-day. That's all the management information I need about "how I use the Internet".
posted by chavenet at 2:36 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would not mind a proxy server I could run on my computer or router or whatever to provide me with that sort of information in a pretty format. I can already log everything, but interpreting it is a bitch.
posted by wierdo at 4:13 PM on December 16, 2011


Well just sign up with an anonymous name and email.

Being able to see every URL you visit would give them a pretty good idea who you are. How often do you search for your own name for example?

Remember when AOL released reams of search data? The NYT and others were able to identify individual people.
posted by delmoi at 4:56 PM on December 16, 2011


Why would I want people knowing about all the surreal fetish porn I look at?
posted by emperor.seamus at 5:11 PM on December 16, 2011


Google essentially already does this with Adsense and Analytics.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:16 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why would I want people knowing how boring I am?
posted by frenetic at 6:53 PM on December 16, 2011


I'm not really interested in this, for some of the reasons noted above, but I have been wanting a browser history analysis tool and wondering why there isn't really such a thing. I've not searched for one that extensively, so maybe there's one out there; but you'd think this would be a small-but-notable category of utility software and it's not.

Why do I want such a thing? Because there's all sorts of data useful to me hidden there in my browser history. At the very least, I'd like to be able to find sites that I previously visited (and, yeah, there's some of this limited functionality built-in to contemporary browsers and, also, there's extensions which, er, extend this functionality). But I'd also love to have an analysis of my web usage patterns, such as when I'm most active and the like.

You can get a limited and somewhat distorted perspective on this sort of thing via Google's History, which you can enable if you have a Google account. That's creepy for the same reasons that this service here is creepy...except that Google is tracking this anyway. They know more, of course, when they can definitively connect a specific user, and across different IPs, to a search history. But they are doing this by IP and such, anyway, I'm pretty sure. Certainly they're logging IPs for search queries and the resulting data is not without value.

I do use their history tool; but over the years I've not consistently always been logged-on to Google and so the history is incomplete and the resulting analysis flawed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:09 AM on December 17, 2011


Yah, I'd like an alternative to the usual browser history functions that would allow me to retrace my clicks. Does this do that?
posted by daHIFI at 9:54 AM on December 19, 2011


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