Today we finally launched our pilot test of the next big thing at Mofibo: a personal front page.
Like most other content services we at Mofibo constantly work on two big tasks: making sure that reading or listening is the best experience possible - and probably equally as important: making sure that our readers find that book they didn't know they always wanted to read.
For content recommendation we will continue to spend a lot of energy in editorial recommendations - but as a big part of our strategy going forward we will gradually add more automatically calculated recommendations, and for that part we are now taking it a big step forward. This way we can make a much more personal service - and with more than 10.000 different book titles being read every week we are constantly confirmed in the fact that although some customers obviously read the same books we have a quite long tail of consumption.
Our customers will therefore soon experience a front page with elements such as Books recommended to you because you read 'The Old Man and the Sea' - as well as Books recommended to you because you like Historical Novels - calculated based user profile and the preference genres selected by the customer.
Technically this has been an interesting challenge, going from a Db served front page with high caching for best performance to individual front pages for each customer. For the techies out there we can mention some fancy new technologies - advanced data crunching with SAS, like MapReduce via Google App-Engine, like new AeroSpike NoSQL servers - combined with a lot of well proven technologies like Python, FTP and CSV files (the Ferguson tractor of file formats).
Now Mofibo Pilots (our customer panel) are testing this and pretty soon we will release it to everyone. And in a sense we hope that customers will not notice it - it just feels super natural and even more easy to always find the next good reading experience.