It was back in July of last year that we first wrote about a service called Voyurl with the headline: It’s Hard To Tell If Voyurl Or Their Ads Are Creepier. You see, at the time, the still-in-stealth startup was targeting angel investors via Google ads get their attention to hopefully talk about their product. That’s actually pretty smart. So we had to give the edge to the product itself being creepier. You see, its aim was to be a service that made your entire browsing history public.
At the time, we said the best way to think of this was as a sort of “Blippy but with more potential porn”. Of course, Blippy has since been tweaking its service to be less about public sharing of your purchases and more about the social dynamics of purchases and recommendations. But fear not, Voyurl is gladly picking up the creepy mantle!
After all that time in stealth, the service finally launched in private beta recently. I’ve had a chance to test it out for a bit and it really is pretty amazing. By using a Chrome extension, they not only keep track of everything you browse on the web and publish it in a realtime updating list, but they can also publish your back-history of surfing as well.
So who the hell would want to possibly use this? Well, first of all, it is kind of fun. If you only browse sites you don’t mind sharing, or just don’t care in general, this is a fun way to share those sites with others. And it’s a fun way to easily keep track of these sites. And to get/give recommendations. More importantly, with the extension, you can easily pause the tracking — or you can set it to be anonymous with the click of a button. And you can stream just individual URLs (either with your name attached or anonymously).
And if you do choose to share, you’ll be adding your data to a growing database of interesting data from Voyurl users. You can easily see the system-wide Top URLs, for example. Here you’ll find that, unsurprisingly, Facebook dominates followed by Twitter, Tumblr, Google, Engadget, and even TechCrunch (though the amount of time spent on Facebook compared to other sites really is pretty amazing).
You can also break those charts down by categories or domains. And you can see the top users of the service based on both total site visits and total time spent browsing overall. In other words, this gives you great insight into the true Internet addicts.
So far, those in the beta seem to be the nerdy, early-adopter type who actually browse Reddit more than porn. But when this baby opens up to the regular public, I cannot wait to see what we find.
Obviously, this is very use-at-your-own risk. And things are still a bit buggy. But if you want to try out Voyurl, use this link made for TechCrunch readers. It should get about 500 of you into the beta. Really, just be careful what you browse with it on. I’ll be watching. No really, I will be watching.
Similar to how fitbit, mint.com, & nike+ help people quantify their lives & get recommendations, voyurl’s browser plugin + web app help people quantify their online browsing habits & find new content they’ll like. voyurl uses implicit dataâ€“your browsing behaviorâ€“to power everything. With it, we help you find ways to optimize your time online: using Facebook too much? We’ll tell you. At the same time, we use insights from your browsing behavior to feed you new content about the stuff...