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Updated: March 7, 2011 16:07 IST

From bookmarking to building browsing library

D. Murali
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What is currently exciting to Rajeev Purnaiya – the founder-CEO of Hooeey.com (http://bit.ly/F4THooeey) – is web browsing library. A browsing library is your storehouse of web pages which you have seen and may want to revisit in the future, he begins, during a recent interaction with Business Line, at 7.30 am in Nageswara Rao Park.

“The Internet is growing in importance as a primary source of information for personal and business research purposes. There is a never-before dependency on the Web for information, and users find themselves returning several times during a working day to source the Web for information,” elaborates Rajeev, thus setting the context. He adds that finding information on the Net is easy thanks to advanced search engines, but organising and retrieving this information is a real challenge, as experienced by most of us.

Rajeev argues, therefore, that if the information you browsed on the web were saved and organised just as books are in a library, it would make your life easier. “It is not hard to imagine a scenario where you may need to get back to a web page you saw a month ago that had information on a great shopping deal or a business opportunity – but you forgot where you saw it. A browsing library could instantaneously find the information without having to repeat your search all over again.” Our early morning conversation continues over the email.

Excerpts from the interview.

What was the motivation for building hooeey webprint?

In 2006, when I was researching ideas for my second start-up, I encountered a pain-point. While finding information was not difficult, it was the process of organising this information that was difficult. It had mainly to do with the lack of appropriate apps.

Tools based on bookmarking were insufficient since I had to do all the work – remembering to save a link, tag it, export it across browsers and so on. Even when I did this, I sometimes found that a bookmarked link had changed content or that it was not working.

Most existing tools based on bookmarking were built for a time where the ‘one-person-one-computer-one-browser’ paradigm was valid. I was using multiple computers, an office computer and a laptop on the road, and I was using multiple browsers. This created more fragmentation of browsing data.

All these factors put me on the path to building a better application ecosystem for seamlessly saving, storing, retrieving and analysing browsed web pages. I believe that a user should have an easy way to own his or her browsing data and hooeey webprint is a big step in this direction.

Can you describe the solution and its evolution, especially in the context of user feedback?

The key insights that I had in course of building the solution were that the application should:

(1) Be as unobtrusive as possible;

(2) Completely respect user’s privacy and be user-controlled; and

(3) Be browser, platform and device agnostic.

With these tenets, we set about building hooeey webprint, which evolved from our earlier application, hooeey.

As with any new product, we have kept ourselves open to user feedback and domain expert analysis. The role of user feedback cannot be overstated: during the early, closed alpha, pre-beta and beta stages, we received many feature suggestions, UI improvement advice, and bug discoveries. At each iteration, our solution has become more robust and more useful to its users. The product continues to evolve and we will continue to rely on our users’ voice to help the product reach its full potential.

Do you see a role for your product in enterprises?

While most bookmarking tools are purely consumer-oriented, hooeey webprint is targeted towards the professional consumer (prosumer) and the workgroup/enterprise.

Media audit reports 2008-09 and our research indicated that the average time spent online per user is 4 hours/day; and re-visitation of a webpage is at 50 to 80 per cent. When we looked at these figures in conjunction, it became evident that enterprises are paying a huge productivity penalty simply because their employees, who spend time finding information on the web, have to do it again 50-80 per cent of the time because there are no appropriate solutions.

Since this segment was most likely to benefit in terms of real money and time from a productivity solution, we built hooeey webprint with this segment in mind. A collective web library for a workgroup or an enterprise is a natural extension since enterprises are shifting heavily into collaborative and shared workspaces.

If one user could save 50 per cent of the time he or she spends in looking for information already seen before, imagine the productivity gains when a team of 10, or a globally-scattered research group of hundreds start using this approach!

How are the privacy and security safeguards implemented?

The application has been built ground-up with user control and privacy protection in mind. There are multiple levels of security, as follows:

1) The web page recording can be turned on with a single click.

2) All web pages remain on the user’s computer.

3) User-specified block list prevents recording of specific sites.

4) Email and secure-site recording is blocked by a single click.

5) Certification from leading trust authorities.

6) The SaaS (software-as-a-Service) cloud application is SSL protected

Can you describe some of the advanced features?

Working silently and unobtrusively, hooeey webprint is a real-time dynamic library builder that goes way beyond bookmarking or storing links to actually storing textual content and screenshots of every visited page. This allows users to do a visual search as well as a text search of a word or phrase within a webpage they had seen.

Some of the features that make it easier for users are that the application requires no log-in or sign-up in order to use it. And it is free to use locally on your computer (any number of them!). Just install hooeey webprint and it’s ready. We’ve also built in an automatic meta-tag cloud generator (which we believe is the first of its kind) that categorises a webpage by the implicit meta-tags. Users after browsing a few pages will see that some level of tagging has already been done for them!

We have also provided charts or analytics that tell the users what their browsing patterns are, what sites are the most visited, for how long, and at what frequency.

Are any partnerships in place?

We have a relationship with Adobe and we use their cross-platform cross-device framework, Adobe AIR. We are listed on the Adobe Marketplace as well as on Intel’s AppUp store.

Who’s using hooeey webprint now? What are the typical user profiles?

We have over a million point two users in the last two months. And these users have a large international footprint – the US, Japan, Italy, the Middle East, and India.

Our user profile currently falls into one these categories:

(1) Blogger;

(2) Academic/university researcher/student;

(3) Corporate marketer/researcher; and

(4) Legal professional.

We are making efforts to reach a wider audience worldwide as well as into other verticals and we hope to do this over the next few months.

What is the business model for your company?

Our business model is to deliver a scalable professional and enterprise-oriented SaaS services based on subscription fees. We are working with other Enterprise 2.0 companies to provide our functionality within their particular enterprise CRM, Wiki and collaboration applications.

We are actively seeking tie-ups, strategic and technical, with other knowledge players in this industry to explore other business models as well.

**

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