There is surely no shortage of content out there on the web, but for many of us, that can actually be a problem. Twitter is great for real-time information, and Facebook is great for seeing what your friends are sharing, and newsfeeds like Flipboard are awesome at pulling together content based on your interests.
But Mix, the latest project out of Expa, and led by Garrett Camp, is looking to filter down content and serve to you the things you’re most likely to care about.
This is done by recommending content based on a semantic graph and a social graph. In other words, your Mix.com feed is based on what you like and who you know, rather than hitting you with one, or the other, or breaking news, or all of the above in a single chronological feed.
Camp, who is the founder of companies like Uber and, previously, StumbleUpon, said that he has spent his life building products that he actually wants in his life.
“I haven’t been able to get the signal-to-noise ratio that I’d like on any of these other platforms,” said Camp. “If I want to see cool stuff related to architecture or funk music, I don’t want to have to search for it, and these existing platforms don’t satisfy my desire. After 20 minutes looking through a newsfeed I might have found some cool stuff, but it’s a needle in a haystack. I only really like a small fraction of it.”
In part, Mix piggybacks off of what was learned from StumbleUpon, which is now a subsidiary of Mix. Camp explained that StumbleUpon was built specifically for consumption, and that only a small number of users were actually giving feedback on that content, let alone contributing content to the platform.
The hope is to get a better balance between consumption and curation from each user on Mix.
After on-boarding with either Twitter or Facebook (in a few days, you should be able to sign in with both), users are asked to choose at least five interests. From there, users are asked to select people that they know or want to follow on Mix.
Once sign-up is completed, users are thrown into the main home page. This page has a “Top For You” section, which is a combination of content across all your selected topics and people, as well as individual topic cards (Politics, Humor, Tech, etc.).
As you swipe through, snippets of each story and a photo are shown on the page, along with buttons for “Share” and “Mix.”
Users can click in to the story, or choose to add it to their own Mix, much like a playlist on Spotify. Users can create Mixes around whatever they want, and those Mixes are available to their followers on the network as a standalone feed. Plus, each time you add a piece of content to one of your Mixes, it informs the algorithm about what to generally serve to people who follow you.[gallery ids="1521844,1521845,1521846,1521847"]
In short, Mix takes into account what’s trending, who’s interested, what interests you share with those people, and what interests you’ve specified within the app to serve you content.
“My hope is that someone wakes up and swipes ten times in the app and realizes that the majority of the content they see is something they actually want to read,” said Camp.
For now, Mix is in the very early stages — in fact, Camp even referred to it as an MVP. The team is releasing it now with plans to continue polishing and refining, adding things like person search and the ability to log in with both Facebook and Twitter. The company also plans to release a web version of the app soon.
While monetization is a ways out, Camp sees an opportunity to build out a native advertising platform within Mix, letting brands by cards and shared sponsored posts.