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We can find many news “go-betweens” on the web, a lot of data bases, but getting a truly customized interface, covering most angles, was hard to find until now. NOOW- IT is a new media experience– a true content discovery and publishing platform. NOOWIT seeks to play a fundamental role in the transition from mass media to truly personalized media.

Noowit.  It’s like someone telling you to renew something or rather more fittingly that you have taken something and made it new. Something that in this case refers to information. What is Noowit exactly and what does it mean to you?

(Re)Noowit. We never thought of that one! NOOWIT’s name comes from the word “νους” (noos), meaning mind, and the English word “wit”, which means ‘keen intelligence”. The name is pretty much a perfect fit for what NOWIT actually is– a new adaptive platform that uses artificial intelligence to learn the interests of each individual user, and a tool for users to easily and quickly navigate and discover online content, while avoiding the information overload of today’s web.

NOOWIT is an “intelligent” magazine. The kind that could have come straight out of a science fiction movie. NOOWIT allows users to read content from all their favorite online sources (magazines, news sites and blogs) in one place, filtered in real time through the prism of their own interests. Every single page of a user’s magazine is customized to them, continuously adapting to their tastes to showcase only relevant content. The only thing a user needs to do to get NOOWIT’s artificial intelligence working for them is to interact with the content it sources for them. For example, each time a readers clicks the ‘LOVit’ button, located at the bottom of an article, they’re letting NOOWIT know that content is in line with their interests.

 

Where did you draw the inspiration from, in order to create Noowit and what is the pattern that guides this process?

I dedicated over a decade of academic research into Artificial Intelligence. NOOWIT is the result of combining that research, the programming knowledge of my NOOWIT partner Christos Spiliopoulos (also known as a Python ninja) and close to two years of web development. Our platform is inspired by biology, and more specifically by the immune system. NOOWIT is powered by Nootropia; an adaptive information filtering system that uses “anti-bodies” to separate content that matches a user’s interests from the constant flow of content. All incoming content is evaluated according to the continually updated interests of the user. It receives a score according to the level of its relevance, and the higher the score the larger the space it’s allotted within the user’s magazine.

Cut the noise. What exactly does Noowit promise to give its members in regard to dealing with the information over load that is a sign of our times?

NOOWIT is a powerful tool in hemming the overflow of irrelevant information, of noise, we encounter daily on the web. It uses a network of features to continuously adapt to a user’s interests, responding in real time to each user’s feedback and reading habits. Page layouts are unique to each reader, and adaptable to the dimensions of their device or browser. The number of articles on a page are calculated dynamically, based on the content’s relevance score– more relevant articles occupying more space in their personalized magazine’s page thus becoming more visible and easier to spot.

NOOWIT is singular in the way it deals with information overflow, both algorithmically and design wise (UI, UX), both for content creators and consumers alike. It is the first platform to offer truly personalized media. Readers can easily stay informed on all their favorite topics, sources, etc. and content creators, publishers and bloggers can get a fifty percent increase of discovery likelihood by their target audience. NOOWIT helps readers find content that matters to them in half the time, while increasing content’s engagement rates, visibility, virality, and value with a variety of new tools. For the first time ever, artificial intelligence and adaptive break-through technology are being applied to information filtering to help eliminate the information overload problem of our era.

 

You’re looking at taking over from Google Reader and initial reviews have seen you race ahead of Feedly. Your timing has been impeccable. Do you think that you’re going to win this race?

NOOWIT is not just a simple reader app, it is so much more. It allows anyone to create their own ‘smart’ magazine and to publish it across all devices and platforms. In other words, NOOWIT is a platform that enables targeted self-publishing and the personalized presentation of information. It offers a comprehensive solution for content discovery, consumption, creation and publication.

A new world of personalized social media is taking over the struggling mass and print media, and NOOWIT hopes to play a fundamental role in that transition. The road is long and the competition is strong, but we’ve worked for a very long time to make sure we are way ahead of the competitive curve. It’s the only way we can hope to compete against companies like Flipboard, that have millions (65 million to be exact) of dollars in backing. We are focused on showcasing the ingenuity that sets NOOWIT apart and introducing the average user to the power and ease it offers.

 

Noowit is a Greek start up. It shows huge promise and is a highly intelligent online magazine. How did you come up with the idea and what is it about this project that makes you proud?

Like I’ve already mentioned, NOOWIT is not result of some flashy idea. It’s a project that’s evolved over many years, starting as an experimental analysis of its technical foundation and growing into research prototypes that led to the NOOWIT of today. Throughout the process, its evolved alongside the technological, design and industry changes of web based media and computing.

In May of 2012, we completed the first prototype of NOOWIT, to very encouraging feedback from mostly Greek users. We knew that wasn’t enough, because we wanted a truly all-encompasing and impressive platform that would attract the attention and respect of the international market. To a great extent, we’ve managed to do exactly that in relatively little time. NOOWIT is already being heralded as the “intelligent Flipbard for the web”, and to be honest the market and users don’t care whether it was made by two guys in Greece or by 50 engineers in Silicon Valley. What matters is the result and we’re pretty proud of that.

 

How long have you been working on Noowit and what kind of problems did you come against while setting up the platform?

The development of NOOWIT started in September of 2011, and the first prototype was completed in May 2012. We continued to develop the platform, largely in stealth mode, until we released the beta version on March 28th, 2013. With NOOWIT we really broke a lot of the traditional rules of web platform design, and by extension we’re stretching the limits of modern browsers. It’s the first time an HTML5 web app features content in a beautiful paginated (magazine style) layout, with touch-based, adaptive content navigation for any screen or device. This means that even if you don’t have an iPhone, tablet or iPad you feel like you do through NOOWIT. This was NOT an easy task. We had to really push ourselves to innovate and continually build and evolve the platform to achieve what we’ve done.

 

How would someone who has no idea of what this all is, but learns about it through this interview and wants to investigate, go about connecting to the platform?

You can check out NOOWIT at www.noowit.com. On July 1st, the day of the announced Google Reader shutdown, NOOWIT will launch to the general public, and everyone will be able to gain access to the platform. Until then, anyone can request an invitation for access by entering their email at the NOOWIT website. We grant invitations almost daily.

First time users of NOOWIT should think of it as a personalized magazine-like reader. It transforms content feeds from any source into an intuitive, smart digital magazine, a MAG with a ‘brain’. It’s like having a personalized magazine that knows what you like and what you don’t.

You can easily choose the content sources you enjoy, using the “edit contents” tab to select some from the default list or by adding your own. Google Reader users can import the entirety of their feeds into NOOWIT with just one click. After that, it’s a matter of clicking “LOVit” on articles you enjoy, so that NOOWIT can understand your individual interests. When you tell NOOWIT you like something, it becomes larger and easier to find on the pages of your personalized MAG. The next time you refresh your browser, or log back in, NOOWIT will have found other relevant articles for you. As you interact with the content NOOWIT sources for you, when you grow out of one interest and get into something else, NOOWIT will actually follow and continuously adapt to your new tastes.

 

What kind of user audience are you hoping to reach with Noowit?

NOOWIT is for everyone and anyone that likes to stay informed with customizable ease. For example, we use NOOWIT ourselves to stay on top of marketplace advancements while keeping an eye on the competition. Thanks to NOOWIT’s adaptable personalization there’s not a single piece of relevant content that gets by us any more!

How do you define user costs? There are separate service packs for each user and his needs. How much does this all cost?

NOOWIT is free for users and for the average blogger that wants to create their own MAG. It’s a pay service for anyone that wants to publish articles directly using NOOWIT’s personalized reader, DISCOVER. In this case, there’s a charge according to the number of users that interact with the article, also known as Cost Per Engagement (CPE). The charge is relatively small and in no way representative of the value NOOWIT offers. NOOWIT not only makes your content ‘smarter’ by ensuring unrivaled targeting and monetization, but it also helps you get to know your audience better.

We use various sites and apps from time to time, that ultimately do not offer the level of service that they should. I am, like many others, a disgruntled used of such applications, although there is a voice inside me that screams “don’t do it”! Why must someone click and register with Noowit? How will it make all the stressed and troubled IT users more relaxed?

I’ve experienced the same thing many times over. I’m so tired of all these overloaded sites, with annoying banners, pops ups and a million links, whose only purpose is to bait us into increasing their page views.

We’ve designed NOOWIT to be a one of a kind experience, to offer a truly streamlined and tailored access to content online. To do this, we did away with the traditional trappings of the average webpage, which means the user will have to adapt to such a customized interface. After the first few clicks, you can actually see NOOWIT getting to know you and making sure you’re updated with news and all the other stuff you love in one place. Simplicity and intelligence in one. Once you’ve experienced NOOWIT you’ll never settle for anything else.

Interview: Kerasia Elabd
Photography: Dimitris Katsikis