Xayn introduces user-friendly and privacy-protecting web search
I like the idea that there are a number of ways that people can take back control of their data, and I really like that my web search results aren’t used to direct ultra-targeted ads to me.
I have been using DuckDuckGo for a while now, I use Presearch when using Chrome as my browser and Startpage is my search tab on my Edge browser.
Recently I took a look at The app of German tech start-up Xayn for my android device.
It is based on AI research protecting privacy and is synonymous with transparency and ethical AI made in Europe.
The app allows you to control its search algorithms.
By swiping left or right on the results, you can influence the results displayed and teach algorithms which results you want to see more of in the future.
Its AI model is a tiny multilingual quantified-BERT sentence optimized for mobile to understand the natural query language of the words you used in your query as well as in the results.
Then it uses an unsupervised clustering model to group these points into different clusters of interest, for example, sports or the arts.
It then calculates the distance to the clusters to reduce the computational cost in the future.
A third model called ListNet analyzes the history of search interactions to understand what types of domains you like – for example, Wikipedia instead of Instagram.
Research companies want to know as much as possible about you so that they can control the results that are delivered to you.
The problem is, in order to get the most accurate search results, users have to compromise their privacy. Xayn retains all of its data with the user.
With Xayn, users can customize features like enabling AI to provide unique search results and can turn it off if they don’t want the feature.
The app gives you one-handed control and no-click search to make it easy to use. Collect, store and sort your favorite web content so that you don’t lose any information.
Your Home screen displays your own personal web feed, determined by your search history.
Leif Nissen Lundbæk, co-founder and CEO of Xayn, said:
“I’ve always hated having to choose between privacy and convenience when searching online.
I also found it scary not to know why certain results were shown to me by the algorithms. Despite all of this, I was still using established search giants because I wasted too much time finding what I was looking for with privacy alternatives. “
The only challenge I see with Xayn is that users can sweep away any news articles that don’t match their core beliefs.
There is a risk that the app will show more and more right or left content over time. Users prefer to see the types of articles they like and form a “belief bubble” to validate their choice.
Truly smart AI will be able to fix this one day – but, for now, this neat, customizable app will deliver exactly the results you want to see with the privacy you need.