colourDNA for iPhone makes an interest graph of a different color

Mar 28, 2012
Tech

What’s your favorite color? That’s the first question you’ll get when launching the new colourDNA iPhone app. And you’ll be amazed what this app can tell about yourself based on your color preferences alone. Building an interest graph around this single piece of information, colourDNA’s proprietary algorithm leverages a social graph of a different kind, […]

What’s your favorite color? That’s the first question you’ll get when launching the new colourDNA iPhone app. And you’ll be amazed what this app can tell about yourself based on your color preferences alone. Building an interest graph around this single piece of information, colourDNA’s proprietary algorithm leverages a social graph of a different kind, skipping the irrelevant bits from larger networks like Facebook, which are likely to clog your social recommendations with missed signals.

The British startup has incorporated much of its website’s features into its iPhone app. You can bookmark the things you love (books, movies, restaurants) or view others’ activity feeds to find new things of interest. You’re matched with other users based on similar interests, so discovery is simplified around colourDNA’s system. The added benefit of the iPhone app is the real-time and local features, letting you check-in to places to trigger interests nearby. Clicking “Loving Now” will show the current activity going on around you, while “Near Me” pulls up a map with other users’ bookmarks.

colourDNA incorporates a lot of features we’re familiar with from Facebook, Foursquare and Pinterest, and hits the iTunes App Store just as ‘ambient discovery’ trends are gaining steam with apps like Highlight stealing the show at SXSW. To stand out from the crowd, colourDNA builds a visual representation of your interest graph, layering in gamification elements to reward you for activity. Every action you take will reconfigure your interest graph, matching you immediately with people, places and things.

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“We cover everything,” says colourDNA co-founder and CEO Ben Poynter. “It’s a nice browsing experience. Highlight is about ambient discovery and the primary graph it pulls from is Facebook. But there’s issues to overcome–to meet people with similar interests you have to share those interests…interest data on Facebook isn’t rich enough to get a good recommendation. With colourDNA you have a detailed profile.”

Those profiles are central to colourDNA’s system, which shows you your similarity score with every person in their network. As your actions determine your interest graph, your influence on colourDNA also grows, not only making it easier to get useful recommendations on the site but also to become a useful resource to others. Your “Loves” are broken down by category (people, music, video games, etc.), and for every profile you can view a user’s bookmarks, activity, who they’re following and the areas they’re most influential.

With a sleek design, simple interface and color-coded everything, using colourDNA is quite easy. What makes the app worthwhile is the fact that its recommendations are actually useful, trimming the fat off other recommendation tools that rely on third-party data. colourDNA has taken the necessary step of launching a mobile app, contextualizing social recommendations around your location, which means its algorithm can only get smarter.

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