Curiyo is a simple and elegant solution to recentralize and normalize media consumption
In a 2010 article in Wired magazine, Nicholas Carr cited studies to argue that the Internet was rewiring our brains and changing the way we think and process information – and not necessarily for the better:
“A 2007 scholarly review of hypertext experiments concluded that jumping between digital documents impedes understanding…On the Net, we face many information faucets, all going full blast. Our little thimble overflows as we rush from tap to tap. We transfer only a small jumble of drops from different faucets, not a continuous, coherent stream.”
Carr is pointing to the paradigm shift born of a decentralised focus toward information consumption that leaves knowledge broad based but superficial, heralding an age of quantity over quality that everyone’s sort of accepted it as a fait accompli.
Excuse me, almost everybody, Curiyo has a solution. Curiyo is a browser plugin that offers a simple and elegant alternative to the hyperlink slash million tabs open at once for a single article, status quo. Here’s how it works:
Once Curiyo is installed in your browser, any web page opened will be analysed and a smart algorithm will highlight all the terms on the page that Curiyo believes you might be interested in drilling down into further for more information. The highlight appears as a faint dotted line beneath the word that comes off as noticeable but subtle, so as to not be intrusive to the overall reading experience. If Curiyo’s algorithm misses the mark, you can ‘Curiyo’ your own word by ‘Long Clicking’ on the term of choice for the same effect. Once a term is highlighted, hovering over it calls up a question mark and clicking on it reveals the ‘Curiyo Box’.
The Curiyo Box is where the magic happens. This popup box features an excerpt size summary of information about the term in question, taken from any number of source sites. What’s great about how they worked this in, is that the source sites are arrayed before you in a scrolling toolbar format at the top of the Curiyo Box, allowing you to scroll through blurbs from Wikipedia, news sites, social sites, dictionaries, photo sites, even YouTube. You can also custom your header to include the sites of your choice or take those that are irrelevant to your browsing style.
The result is the return of media consumption to a style of one primary indepth source with unique terms being granted enriching footnote status, as opposed to their serving as a minefield of experience destructuring hyperlinks.
A simple challenge
“It’s a challenge to make something simple, elegant” said Bob Rosenschein, founder and CEO of Curiyo in an interview with Geektime. “We looked to attack usability on three fronts: The first was to keep Curiyo light, subtle and gentle with easy colors etc. The second was to make sure it worked on ‘click’, not ‘hover’. Everything works only on demand. Lastly was to make sure that the first thing people see is useful and enjoyable information. Not an ad.”
Which brought me to the question of revenue. Rosenschein says the thinking now is to keep Curiyo as an ad based solution. How ads will be presented is something they’re still flushing out, but they plan to keep the service free for both the end user and publisher. Publishers, by the way, can embed Curiyo’s script directly into their site so that users who have not added Curiyo to their browsers will still be able to browse those specific sites in Curiyo like fashion, regardless.
I asked whether they plan to have a separate paid for track for publishers (which I believe would be a smart way to go for a healthy additional revenue stream). Rosenschein didn’t dismiss the notion outright but he was clear that ads are the way they’re going to run with this in the near term. He added that we can expect to see iOS and android rollouts sometime in the beginning of the coming year.
Curiyo was founded at the tail end of 2011 by Bob Rosenschein, launching as an OurCrowd project that managed to raise an initial $550K in seed from the Jon Medved crowdfunding site. They subsequently secured an additional $300K from Cedar Fund and Magic investments. Curiyo has 5 full time employees working out of their offices in Jerusalem, Israel.