Engine is like Mint.com for Your Emails, Docs, Texts, and Apps
We Are All Living in Personal Information Overload!
The average person now has hundreds of thousands of files on their computer, tens of thousands of emails on their mail client, thousands of new text messages, hundreds of social network friends, and dozens of Apps to keep track of. And in 2 years all of that will double!
The Engine Website and App is Going to Solve the Problem, by Making our Data Work for Us, Instead of the Other Way Around
Engine can fix the problem by linking together your docs, apps, emails, and texts and then ranking which ones are actually important (relevant) to you right at that moment.
Say you wanted to plan a soccer game Saturday and you are looking for players. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could instantly know everyone you have ever emailed / texted about soccer + every single friend who ever mentioned playing soccer on their social network. That would make filling out the teams pretty easy compared to calling around for 45 minutes and asking who is interested.
Or when you are working on algebra homework, you will see the email from your professor, the word document with your assignment, which of your friends are math majors in case you need help, and times for math tutoring at the local university.
Solving information overload will mean Communicating Easier, Working Smarter, and Having Access to Everything Instantly.
To achieve this we plan to link together the following sources of personal information as part of the Engine Alpha.
What Happens When You Don't Have Engine : )
Alpha Data Sources:
Social: Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter
Email: Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Apple Mail, Outlook, Hotmail, iOS Devices
Phone: SMS, GPS, Contacts, ICal, and Google Calendar
Docs: Google Docs and Evernote
Apps: Instragram, You Tube Watch List, Four Square Locations
Browsers: Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
After being inspired by Tim Berners Lee's TED talks on "Linked Data" in 2009 and 2010 Grant and I started imagining all the cool things we could do with Linked Data. It occurred to us that what we really wanted was a Linked Data Engine to translate all our data into a Linked Data format and in doing so, return power over that data to individual users.
The Vision for Engine is Born:
Grant and I also realized that while public data and the Linked Open Data Cloud was bringing together was pretty awesome, the really cool stuff would only be possible when individual users access their personal data in the same kind of way.
And this is when in 2011 the vision for Engine was born. And we began figuring out how to build an App that converts user emails, docs, apps and mobile info into Linked Data and then we will be able to query that Linked Data using natural language and get back the most relevant stuff from all of our programs in just one step.
On a Mission:
So that's the mission we are on, the Engine website and application will allow users to automate their digital lives. Once the users data is linked together the vision of the company is to automate everyday tasks like homework, scheduling your social life, and just about anything people do manually with a computer today. Part of how this will be done with with a personalized A.I. that will be born out of the DNA from your data. We call the A.I. / algorithm "Engine". The longer term goal being to develop everyone a personal A.I. that knows everything you know and that can help you with just about anything you ask it to.
Platforms Engine will be on; the App Store and the Android Marketplace:
Our users will be smart phone owners with access to either the App Store via Apple or the Android Marketplace via an Android powered phone. Currently there are over 500 Million OS and Android devices world wide, with that number experiencing explosive growth expected to exceed 1 Billion users by the end of 2012. Virtually all of these people already have an email account and a social network. All these users have a use for the Engine App and website.
How Engine will Scale:
Freemium is the best way to describe our plan for providing Engine to everyone. In essence Engine will be offered completely free to non-commercial users. When the premium version is developed, it will be offered on a subscription basis to commercial level users who need much more powerful capabilities, for instance linking tons of files together or managing multiple accounts. Well known examples of this freemium approach working are Gmail, LinkedIn and Drop Box.
The Engine Team:
Grant Haywood is the Co-Founder and programming lead and is responsible for managing the day to day activities of the software development team. As lead programmer Grant is responsible to keep the alpha version of the software on track with its milestones during 2012 and to deliver a final working demonstration of the technology.
David A. Johnston as Co-Founder and Entrepreneurial lead is in charge of finding great team members and advisors for the project. David also works to develop the vision for the user Interface and functionality of the App.
Brandon Selway is an experienced website and software developer who has worked both in the U.S. and internationally for the likes of Transparency International. Brandon brings an in depth knowledge of the skills it takes to program a web project from the concept stage all the way to operational software. Brandon is working to develop the database that will function as the heart of the Engine alpha App.
Background on "Linked Data":
More Information on Engine:
Blog / Tumblr: www.LDEngine.Tumblr.com
Google +: Page for Engine
Facebook Page: Engine FB Page
Angel Investor Page: http://angel.co/Engine
Engine White Paper: http://ldengine.tumblr.com/post/23256457634/white-paper
ENGINE TAKES PRIVACY EXTREMELY SERIOUSLY.
We want to earn the trust of all our users so that they know Engine is a safe and secure service to use.
First, to address the use of "APIs" which allow Engine to connect with your existing apps and online services. It is important to be clear that Engine will NOT be storing your username or password to these other services. The way that Engine will connect with your data stream is through a program called OAuth2 which is used by Google and many other large internet companies (you can read the technical details about OAuth2 here http://code.google.com/p/google-api-java-client/wiki/OAuth2 ). This system allows Engine to have certain permissions to pull the data from your existing apps without giving Engine access to all your usernames and passwords.
Second, when we say that Engine is going to "link together your apps" we do NOT mean that it is going to expose your information on one service to all the users on another service. So for instance connecting your existing services will NOT automatically begin streaming your YouTube views to your Facebook or Twitter feeds.
What Engine will do is give ONLY YOU a place to view all your information in an organized user interface that displays the information that is most relevant to what you are working on.
Our model is the opposite of those who want to monetize your information by sharing it far and wide. The Engine team has a vision for putting the USER back in charge of their own raw data, instead of a 2nd or 3rd party.
Is there a difference between the alpha sign up on the website and the alpha invite for $5 Backers on Kickstarter?
Yes, the Kickstarter Backers will get early access to the alpha (at least 30 days earlier to be specific), as compared to those who only signed up on the website. The more Kickstarter Backers we have, the longer the wait will be for those who have only signed up on the website, since it will be an exclusive / invite only alpha.
We will offer the Engine App for $0 in both the App Store and the Android Marketplace. Businesses that want multiple users to access the same account will be able to upgrade when we release the Engine Pro version. We expect 95% of our users will choose the free version, just like 95% of users choose the free version of Gmail, LinkedIn or Evernote.
It is important to be clear that the Engine team has spent considerable time and energy calculating the costs that the website and app will incur while providing this service to users. These costs include servers, electricity, labor, maintenance, overhead, licensing fees and much more. In order to make Engine a successfully program available for a Freemium like Evernote or LinkedIn, we will calculate the data consumption of our users during the Alpha period and develop a pricing structure for our "Pro" accounts based on that data. In the example of Evernote and LinkedIn they charge $5 per month and $20 per month respectively for their Pro accounts and the revenue from the Pro users is sufficient to cover the costs of supporting both their free and premium users.
Having free accounts allows the website and app to be widely and quickly downloaded, driving mass adoption of the service early on. Having premium accounts will allow businesses and others who have huge processing needs to access the service while still keeping it sustainable. These are the two keys to a successful freemium model.
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