Kara Swisher of Recode.net reports, “In a bid to add another publishing and advertising tool to its offerings, AOL has acquired personalization startup Gravity for about $90 million in cash. As part of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter, the New York-based company said it will also ‘acquire approximately $12 million of net operating losses, which is expected to result in a future cash tax benefit to AOL of approximately $5 million.’ ‘It’s been search, then social and now personal,’ said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong in an interview last night about the transaction, echoing a motto that Gravity CEO Amit Kapur has been using since he co-founded the company in 2009. ‘We think we can get a clearer signal with content with personalization to improve our results and better monetize what we offer.’ ” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘Gravity’
Michael Carney of Pando Daily reports, “The last few years have been good to the Los Angeles tech scene, with more money, more talent, and more recognition coming to the community… After explaining why the critical infrastructure elements and culture of entrepreneurship have reached a critical mass that has never been the case before, the response tends to be one of qualification: “But LA doesn’t build real technology.” I believe this comes partially from the basic human need to categorize and explain things. In LA, that can be difficult, because the market is as diverse as any in the world… It’s a myth that LA doesn’t build hardcore technology, but to set the record straight, below are seven venture-backed LA companies of various sizes and stages with talented engineering teams building ‘deep tech’.” Read more
Jennifer Van Grove of Venture Beat reports, “Gravity is inescapable, especially if we’re talking about the content personalization startup that goes by that name. Three-year-old Gravity has secured $10.6 million in new funding to expand more rapidly and bring its so-cool-it’s-creepy personalization technology to even more publishers. Founded in 2009, Gravity performs semantic analysis on social updates and trending topics in aggregate to automatically identify a person’s interests. That data is then used in tools that help publishers make content recommendations, customize homepages, display viral stories, or serve ads.” Read more
Just a little over a year ago The Semantic Web Blog introduced our readers to Gravity in this article. The project, spearheaded by former MySpace execs, is focused on building the Interest Graph. The team’s been pretty quiet about development efforts since that time — until just this month, when it announced Gravity Labs to let the public in on a little more about its underlying Interest Graph infrastructure and to showcase the platform. It also announced that it was open-sourcing some of the “plumbing” code it came up with during development, while understandably keeping its core IT, ontology and algorithms under wraps.
The announcement noted that the internally-named Gravity Interest Service for personalizing content at scale, in real-time, went live at production-scale 6 months ago. So far the technology has created over 400 million user interest graphs; served over 13 million pieces of personalized content per day; personalized the daily Internet experience of tens of millions of users per month; and processed over 25 million inbound interest signals per day, the company says. It expects that at this rate, that in under six months it will be handling 10X all of these numbers.
The Semantic Web Blog once again caught up with Gravity CTO Jim Benedetto to talk some more about the Interest Graph, a term he acknowledges gets thrown around quite a bit these days, with a lot of web sites claiming they’ve got the goods. But, he says, “what they effectively are saying is that buried deep within the data of our logs or deep in the data of how our users interact with our site, we know there are interest indicators there. But a lot of them are not doing much with their data.” Interest Graphs, he says, aren’t owned, but interest data resides in individual places and across the web at large — and they need the Gravity platform to help unlock that to create dynamic and personalized experiences for users, Benedetto says.
It’s gravity that keeps us tied to earth, and it’s Gravity that seeks to tie us to our personal world of interests on the web. With an executive team founded by MySpace’s Amit Kapur (CEO), Jim Benedetto (CTO), and Steve Pearman, Chief Product Officer, the premise behind Gravity is the building of an interest graph that will make it possible for third-party developers and sites to personalize content – including fully personalized newspapers – and services to you.
Well, you’ve heard the personalized content story before in various ways, shapes and forms, right? Here’s why Gravity expects to be different. “The interest graph is the next filtration device across the Internet, to filter content personalized to me,” says Benedetto. “When I look at the web today I see the web you see….With the amount of information being created that methodology breaks down.” Of course, we can thank the very social networking trend that MySpace, Facebook and Twitter were so instrumental in encouraging for this being the case, not only repeating but exacerbating the web’s pattern almost since its birth of information creation overwhelming the technology available to organize it. Now, Gravity wants to provide the web-scale way, built in consideration of but outside the social graph’s confines, to surface the massive amounts of information across that graph and from the web at large that which is implicitly and automatically personalized to users.