Focused Searching with Unouit

One of the main features of Unouit is the Search Capability that lets you focus on what you are looking for and not what others want you to find.

The internet originally was a place intended mainly for sharing knowledge. But it has become a place where everybody wants to sell you one thing or another.

This Washington Post article is an interesting showcase how the commerce-driven search industry failed us. Although there is no denying that we ourselves contribute to this with our indifference and complacency.

Unouit wants to give knowledge acquisition the significance it once had and one of the ways we do this is by filtering all the stuff you – as a knowledge worker – are not interested in, when searching the net for valuable insights.

So we prepared a little screencast demonstrating this capability of Unouit. Enjoy!

Screencast of showing Unouit Search Capability

If you find this interesting, head over to unouit.com and give it a try.

How does Unouit compare to… (u name it)?

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Maybe you are curious about knowing how the feature set of Unouit compares to similar applications. Here is a comparison of the features as of February 17, 2020:

Feature Unouit Pocket Memex DuckDuckGo ReadCube
Searching
Integrated Search yes no no yes yes (only scientific papers)
Anonymous Search yes no no yes no
Automatically Filtered Content Search yes no no no yes (only scientific papers)
Manual Content Exclusion yes no no no no
Tracker Blocking yes no no partially using browser plugin (not all trackers caught)
yes (only scientific papers)
Domain Blacklisting by User yes no no no no
Single & Permanent Hit Exclusion yes no no no no
Displaying Content
Content Preview Pane yes no no no yes
Ad Blocking yes no no no n/a
Storing Content
Storing Content as Cleaned PDF yes no no n/a no
Private & Permanent Content Storage yes no no n/a no
Fulltext Search in Stored Content yes yes yes n/a no
Store HTML pages yes yes yes n/a no
Store PDF pages yes yes yes n/a no
Store images within content yes yes yes n/a yes
Store video within content no yes yes (?) n/a no
Synchronize Content
Upload Own Content yes no no n/a no
Import Content from Other Applications yes no no n/a no
Privacy
Registration and Login Required yes yes no n/a no
Pricing
Affordable for Anybody yes (range with “pay what you like”) no no n/a no
Other (Planned) Features
Content Automatic Semantic Tagging no (planned) yes no (?) n/a yes
Content Trustfullness Rating no (planned) no no no no
Content Aging Indicator no (planned) no no no no
Automatic Forgetting of Content no (planned) no no n/a no
Annotating HTML Content no (planned) yes yes n/a yes
Annotating PDF Content no (planned) no no n/a yes

 

How Your Personal Data Might Be Used

Not too long ago Google was fined €50 million for GDPR violation in France. This is one case in a series of fines the EU has issued to companies for going against GDPR law. Though it is the largest fine up to date, it surely will not be the last one.

Why do companies need your personal data? What should you be looking for in an online service, that seems useful to you regarding the use of your personal data?

personal-data-3914806_1280

Needed Usage

Let’s face it, we need to know something about you, when we want to offer some personalized service. To be able to store your preferences and your personally collected data, there has to be a possibility to identify you. You have to be discernible from other online users.

If you do not need personalization, then an online service should be fine with your anonymous online presence. As soon as you want to be able to store data online between two distinct visits to some online service, some way of identifying you as a returning user is necessary.

A verifiable email address is a valid token to identify you as a unique returning customer for a service provider. An email address has the advantage for you, that you can create an infinite amount of email addresses, that have not to have a resemblance to your real name. So you are relatively save to use it in public.

As soon, as you want to or have to pay for some service provided to you, you have to partially reveal your real presence…but still not necessarily to the service provider, but at least to a trusted third party (like say PayPal), that does not necessarily share your identity data with service providers using their payment functionality, when they opt for not using the revealing  API (like unouit.com for example).

But wait, there even exists a totally anonymous payment option, that is at least available in some countries (in the meanwhile), like AntePAY. You buy anonymously a non-personalized payment card, you can use in your online transactions, given the service provider accepts the card.

Unnecessary, but Acceptable Usage

If a website generates some additional value for you as a user, then it might be acceptable to cede some additional information about yourself, to obtain the additional service. But you are advised to be deliberate about whether the additional service is of real value for you.

Just ponder for a moment all the giveaways (for example from conferences) that clog your drawers and that you throw away when your about to move.

In any case you have still need the comfort to know, that this information is not used for other non-declared purposes.

Unacceptable Usage

Well, unacceptable usage of personal information makes the biggest part of data gathered about you on the internet. And almost everybody does it. At least in the European Union you are a little bit better protected (and have more rights) because of the GDPR law in vigor since May 2018. Websites at least have to declare what part of your personal data they use for what purpose and you have the right to have your data deleted, when it is not necessary for any legitimate legal or commercial purpose.

Unacceptable usage encompasses:

  • To target you with tailor-made advertisement. Or is it your problem, that the service provider is not capable to earn money without selling ads?
  • Selling your personal data (and the profile of your surfing habits) to 3rd parties. This should be an absolute no-go.
  • Using your personal data to sell you additional products of 3rd parties or of it own portfolio. This might be acceptable only if you have to explicitly opt in for each product. There should be no general opting-in, without making it transparent to you what kind of product is offered by which company.

This is by no means a conclusive list. The companies around the globe come up with new dubious usages every minute. They are very creative.

What to Watch Out For

It is very difficult to be on the safe side when surfing the internet today. And it will not get and easier in the future. Here some hints that can help you to stay safe and to make the right decision, when in doubt:

  • Decide for yourself what your personal privacy is worth.
  • If privacy is important, then try to err on the side of privacy over the side of complacency and comfort. You might loose a bit of behavior on certain websites. While other websites will just stop working when trying to access them protected. But are those websites really worth it? Just reflect it yourself.
  • Use tools that protect you privacy actively and at all time like independent browsers that protect you at least from some trackers (like Mozilla Firefox, to name just one). Or use safer search engines like DuckDuckGo. Or use our tool that protects you all around and helps you focus on what is really important on the web: Unouit.
  • Stay away from websites that are known to sell your identity and surfing profile. Here are some articles talking about this problem: The Independent, Newsweek and a nice infographic at the Visual Capitalist.
  • Consider stopping to use websites that have a track record of data breaches where personal data of user was stolen in the past. Her a list maintained at Wikipedia.
  • Remove accumulated data about yourself, if possible. Here is an article describing ways to clean the usage data Google accumulates about you.

Fed up by the internet as we know it?

The time is ripe

What happened to the internet? We are addicted to it. We can not do without it. We have friends we never see and that do nothing for us. We read fabricated “news” every day about irrelevant “facts”. Ads are disguised as information (“infomercials”). So-called “influencers” are used by the industry to sell us anything (from beauty products to insurance policies).

The original intent of the internet – being a place, where the knowledge of the world is shared, connected and spread widely – is barely recognizable anymore.

Even Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet, sees the time is ripe to fundamentally change how the web is working to give us back the freedom the internet once promised to its users.

Moral problems

We can wait for a new web to materialize – though this might take a while, as commercial and political interests slow positive change down to a creep – or we can take matter in our own hands.

And although leading tech companies like Google are planning to protect us from abusive websites or like DuckDuckGo are trying to limit adverts imposed on us, there is something dishonest about these efforts. They need the advertisement to make a living.

Information Glut

But besides these commercially induced problems there is the pure overload with irrelevant, dumb, useless pieces of information and so we have to sift through the mud to unearth little gems of knowledge.

GoldPanning

Though there is a certain value in being able to shop online or to plan our next trip from our couch – when it comes to the activity of researching the web for valuable pieces of information, things like web shops, infomercial articles, ads are just getting in our way. It is like searching for that infamous gold nugget and having to sift through tons of sand.

We focus on easy knowledge acquisition

We at unouit.com were fed up with this and so we created a platform for focused knowledge acquisition. Our vision is, that you can easily find what you are searching for without all the nerve-racking issues which you would normally encounter.

So we created unouit.com with following goals in mind:

  • We filter all the crap for you (no shops, no ads, no tracking, no low content pages, no infomercials, etc.)
  • You can mark content you want to ignore and you will never be bothered with it again. This will make your search results continuously better for you and other Unouit users.
  • You can store content that is interesting and valuable for you in a safe place. Once you have stored it, it will be removed from future web searches for the same keywords. Instead you will find it in your private storage area.
  • We will never track you.
  • We will never sell your profile data.
  • Search engines will not be able to profile your surfing habits.
  • We will semantically connect your saved content, so we can show you relevant connections to other adjoining content, helping you discover further topics, without having to tag content manually (this is a future feature not implemented yet).

So, how do we survive financially?

Our goal is to be self-financed, without resorting to selling advertisement or user data to third parties. So we will likely evolve into a pay-by-usage service in the medium to long run, with a free service to the casual or low-frequency user.

Currently we are cross-financing the development of the platform without any third parties involved, so we can control the evolution of the platform for the foreseeable future.

We want to remain independent from major players in the field to be able to maintain our record of integrity, respect and defense of our users.

What can you do?

We would like to shape the service with your needs in mind. So please do not hesitate to give us feedback on how we can improve and make it better.

Do you want to be part of the revolution, then head over to unouit.com and try it out. We are always adding new features and you can contribute to make the internet a pleasant place again.