Web

From the makers of Siri comes Trap.it, a new take on the search engine

trapitSiri, the breakout technology made famous via the iPhone 4S, has inspired everything from talk of the next step in artificial intelligence to an entirely new Internet meme. But Apple’s been cagey on introducing the feature to its other devices, and at the moment it remains something of an exclusive application.

If you have Siri-envy, there is a solution beyond caving and buying the expensive smartphone. A new take on the search engine called Trap.it uses the same AI technology that Siri does courtesy of the CALO project (which was funded by DARPA), and has launched its public beta for anyone and everyone to try out.

Trap.it is like a hybrid of Pandora and Qwiki (the “information experience” site that boasted former Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin as an investor) that feels a lot like the next step in search. While Google reigns supreme over this market, consumers’ shifting priorities are starting to make it feel just the tiniest bit antiquated.

likeUsing your Facebook or Twitter account, Trap.it curates the Web for you, offering up more personal takes on everything the Internet has to offer. It’s true that the typical search engine experience is more about the collective than it is you: It takes into account current news stories or information that the Web community has deemed quality via their clicks. But Trap.it doesn’t really care about the community—it’s more interested in the individual.

Via the “discover” bar, you “trap” information that comes up in visual-heavy icons with short text summaries. Hovering over these images lets you vote up or down if this is what you were looking for, share the information, or bookmark it for later. Your feedback on these “traps” is how the search engine learns and gets smarter, so eventually you’re receiving more and more spot-on results. We advise you to take a look at the privacy policy before you use it–although if you’re a Pinterest user, you shouldn’t take any issue with these terms.

It’s yet another signal we’re moving from search to discovery. We talked about this recently and how it applies to e-commerce, but this time Trap.it is striking at the heart of the matter and challenging traditional search at its most basic. A recent study into search revealed how products should gear products: 

“Future investigation for improving how users gather Web information should take into account the following aspects:

  • Visual characteristics of search result presentations for information gathering.
  • Re-finding tools that bookmark complete and partial search sessions with user annotations.
  • Integrated information management features that support information gathering tasks.” 

Sounds a lot like what Trap.it is doing. When we were looking for something, we used to go to Google and look for it by keywords—but we had to know what it was we were looking for. Now it’s like that process is in reverse. First we know we want something, and a phrase or anecdote is what leads us to the end result via a discovery process that helps us pinpoint what exactly it is we were looking for in the first place. 

Movies & TV

Why First Man’s Oscar-nominated visual effects are a giant leap for filmmaking

Paul Lambert, the award-winning visual effects supervisor on First Man, reveals the innovative techniques that blended old footage with modern movie magic to make the Apollo 11 mission to the moon resonate with audiences 50 years later and…
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Mobile

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.
Business

Marriott asking guests for data to see if they were victims of the Starwood hack

Marriott has created an online form to help you find out if your data was stolen in the massive Starwood hack that came to light toward the end of 2018. But take note, it requires you to submit a bunch of personal details.
Computing

New Chrome feature aimed at preventing websites from blocking Incognito Mode

A new Chrome feature will prevent websites from blocking Chrome users as they browse using Incognito Mode. The feature is supposed to fix a known loophole that allows websites to detect and block those using Incognito Mode.
Computing

Microsoft extension adds Google Chrome support for Windows Timeline

The Windows Timeline feature is now much more versatile thanks to the added support for Google's Chrome browser. All you need to do to increase its functionality is to download the official Chrome extension.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Movies & TV

Here’s how to watch the 2019 Oscars livestream online

The 91st Academy Awards will air live on ABC, but there are also a number of ways to watch Hollywood's biggest night online using your mobile device, desktop, or set-top streamer. Here's how to catch the Oscars livestream.
Computing

YouTube changes its strikes system, offers softer first-offense penalty

YouTube announced changes to its strikes system for its content creators. The changes include a softer first-offense penalty for creators who violate YouTube's guidelines and more consistent penalties for further violations.
Computing

An experimental feature could help reduce memory usage in Google Chrome

Google Chrome might be the most popular web browser, but it also is a resource hog. Google is currently working on an experimental feature for Chrome which sets out to reduce its overall memory usage. 
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or OS.
Web

Rid yourself of website notification requests in just a few easy steps

Wish you knew how to block browser and website notifications? You can do it on a case by case basis, but that can become dull after the 10th site has asked for your approval. Here's how to block them outright.