Clever Sense: A Mobile Search Engine That’s Like “Pandora For The Real World”

I suspect someone is going to successfully build Google’s “contextual discovery engine” before Google does. The newest company to make a run at what Marissa Mayer was talking about is Clever Sense with its new app “Alfred” (formerly called Seymour).

Intended to be a demonstration of Clever Sense’s underlying data extraction and machine learning technologies, Alfred creates a personalized “interest graph” that then serves up local recommendations for places you’ll like. But you can also search in a more conventional way.

Of course Clever Sense isn’t the first company to create a “recommendation engine” or local “discovery engine.” Currently Where and Bizzy position themselves in this way. (Where was acquired by eBay and may ultimately turn into something very different however.)

Google is also trying to use social signals to offer local recommendations in mobile.

Clever Sense’s Alfred uses a mixture of Q&A “teaching,” social signals and other techniques to construct your interest graph. I found the teaching part to be less tedious and onerous than on comparable apps. And relatively quickly it was making some pretty solid recommendations.

Clever Sense describes how the app works:

The Extraction Engine built into the Clever Sense Platform curates large amounts of unstructured crawled data by leveraging natural language processing, statistical machine learning, and data mining algorithms.

As it reads through the data, the Extraction Engine learns meaningful concepts that are descriptive of physical items in the real world. These concepts constitute the foundation of the Clever Sense Interest Graph. The engine further leverages social interactions like check-ins, likes, and ratings to enrich the Interest Graph. It calculates similarities via graph-based algorithms using these social interactions.

I spoke with CEO Babak Pahlavan several weeks ago. He gave me a demo and described Clever Sense’s “interest graph” as “Pandora for the real world.” In other words Clever Sense assigns or maps physical places to one another based on styles, characteristics and attributes in the same way that Pandora does for music. However Clever Sense is not using humans to tag or otherwise “curate” data. It’s all done by machine.

Pahlavan also explained that the interest graph is comprehensive, so the app will enable users to visit an entirely new city and get instant recommendations that are similar to places they like at home. That’s a pretty compelling use case I think.

YouTube Preview Image

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search Engines: Maps & Local Search Engines | Search Engines: Mobile Search Engines | Search Engines: Social Search Engines | Search Engines: Word Of Mouth & Buzz Search Engines


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Joe Youngblood

    hurray an iphone app… yawn!

    why the heck isnt this available on pc or android? dumb. by the time you get to those platforms i will have lost interest.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide