How many hours did you lose to social media last week? Is online gaming or ESPN dampening your productivity? A new service makes answering this kind of question much easier by tracking your browsing habits the same way sites like Mint.com track your finances.
Voyurl‘s private beta version was a recommendation engine based on friends’ and the general community’s online activity, as collected by a plugin they installed. When you added a friend, you could see what new sites he or she was visiting. You could also see what sites the community visited most often.
Two other companies are making products that share browsing data, but it still isn’t widely accepted. Voyurl founder Adam Leibsohn says the service has a tendency to “freak people out” and was difficult to use effectively. Even so, beta users logged 4 million URLs using the product.
The new version of Voyurl still relies on clickstream data gathered with a similar plugin, but keeps the pages you visit completely private. Instead, it uses the data to make recommendations without asking for active feedback — no stars, no ratings, no thumbs up or down.
A curated list of recommendations is created based on what sites you visit and how you behave on them. Factors like scrolling and mouse hovering are taken into account to decide what you like.
Users who install the Voyurl plugin also get a detailed description of how they use the web, including how much time they spend browsing, the sites they spend the most time on and their browsing patterns. You can also compare your behavior to the average user.
“You’re looking at yourself in a mirror you didn’t know existed,” says Leibsohn, who used rent money to finance the startup while he found accommodation on couchsurfing.org for a year. “You say, oh, I didn’t know I spent that much time on Facebook.”
Original Article By: Sarah Kessler
Posted By: Jeff Pulvino