We wrote about stealthy startup Personal earlier this year when the company announced $7.6 million in funding from Steve Case’s Revolution LLC, Allen&Company, and others. This week, Personal finally launched its service, which aims to give consumers control over their digital data, to the public.
Personal is a free web and mobile service that helps you take control of all the digital information about yourself and your life, decide who gets access to it, and use it for your benefit. This information ranges from your passwords, your kids allergies, emergency contacts, credit card info, and more. Basically, any information you may not want to store in email but want to be able to share with your loved ones or friends.
With Personal you can store various information in ‘data vaults’ where you can selectively share certain vaults with people. Of course, all accounts on Personal include a legal guarantee that you own your data in the system.
For example, one way to use Personal is via its Form Killer app. You simply enter personal data once (that you would typically enter into forms such as address, social security numbers, birth data and more and then you can gill out forms with a single click using the startup’s Form Killer app
At the very heart of Personal, are what the startup calls ‘gems.’ Gems are nuggets of reusable information that represent the details of your life – your family, pets, car, home, office, food and travel preferences, and more. You can decide which gems to add to your vault and which to share with others using our grant and request features. And you can download existing data from LinkedIn and Facebook. Personal also has a Gem Gallery, which is where you browse for the gems you need to use.
Your Personal data vault is a secure and convenient place for your gems. All sensitive data that you put in gems must be locked and unlocked with an owner-chosen password that Personal does not store and therefore, cannot access. Personal uses a 256-bit SSL encryption and HTTPS to ensure that there is no eavesdropping whenever data is transferred back-and-forth from your computer to Personal.
Personal is available on the mobile web and will be launching native Android and iPhone apps will be released soon.
There are number of services similar to Personal (such as Singly) but one thing the service has in its favor is its relatively clean and easy to use UI. It makes understanding which data is being shared very easy. Considering some of the hesitations we have sharing certain types of confidential information over email, or even Facebook; there is a need for a private (and highly secure) data organization service.
For background, Personal was founded by the same management team that built business mapping application The Map Network (which was acquired by NAVTEQ in 2006).