Illumio Connects People’s Minds Online
Imagine if you could search through the information in your co-workers heads and uncover unknown areas of expertise and unlikely connections such as a mutual interest in gardening or video games.
That sort of search is even difficult for Google, but it can be tackled by Illumio, a free application developed by Tacit Software.
Illumio is a new approach to the challenge of “social search” which is basically finding information that other people know but haven’t uploaded to the Web yet. Unlike services such as Yahoo Answers, Microsoft QnA, LinkedIn and XING, Illumio allows people to connect in private.
“What we are trying to do is create mutually consensual connections among people who would never find each other otherwise,” said David Gilmour, Tacit’s founder and chief executive. “It’s like Google meets IM.”
What makes Illumio possible is borrowed desktop search technology that was first released by Google, and subsequently by competitors, to discover what a person really thinks and cares about. It analyzes e-mail, internet searches and documents stored on a PC hard drive and uses a mathematical formula to match that information with requests submitted by other Illumio users.
Gifford Combs, a hedge-fund manager from Los Angeles, said he used Illumio to find information about flights between London and Finland. Combs could have typed multiple requests into a search engine, or gone to the library, but asking Illumio was much easier.
Unlike Internet giants such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, which keep unspecified stacks of data relating to their users behavior on their network of Web sites, Tacit spells out precisely what data is retained and for how long. Gilmour said Illumio does not keep records of the matching process on a central server, though it does save requests and responses for 12 months.