Choices, choices and more choices. We are being swamped with choices every single day and taking decisions has never been more time consuming. We can ask our friends and family, but how often can you bother them? Often, not many of them know enough to help you make a choice.
Hunch has a proven track record of being the perfect social recommendation engine with a powerful algorithm under the hood. With a sleek and simple interface, hunchable brings the power of Hunch to the iPhone. This free app gets you personalized recommendations on any topic under the sun – anytime, anywhere.
What is Hunchable?
Before checking out the hunchable iPhone app, we have to understand what Hunch is. Hunch claims to be a decision engine that “gives customized recommendations and gets smarter the more you use it.” Unlike other competitors like Mahalo, Yahoo Answers etc., Hunch leverages the power of its algorithm and behavioural analysis of the user when answering a question.
At the outset, you will be asked a bunch of probing questions that help Hunch’s algorithm better understand your personality. Now when you are trying to get a recommendation, Hunch takes in to account your personality, the personality of Hunch users with similar taste and its algorithm when answering the questions. Hunch claims to provide you with an answer in 10 questions or less.
hunchable as an iPhone application allows you to access recommendations on thousands of topics available at Hunch. The data is pulled from Hunch via its API and works in the same manner as the web app – answering to a set of questions per topic to get personalized recommendations. All the recommendations can be accessed without having to sign up or login to a Hunch account. Logging into your Hunch account can enhance current and future recommendations, so I would advise you to sign up.
Using the App
The app opens up a screen that displays the list of categories. Almost everything that matters in the world are listed in this exhaustive list of categories. You can also access recent & recommended topics or use the search to find the topic you are looking for.
When you tap on a category, another thoroughly compiled list of sub categories are shown. Prominent niches are clearly demarcated and covered in the sub categories and you do not have to waste your time navigating though multiple pages.
A list of hot and happening topics are shown when you tap on a sub category. The topics have a brief description and an option for you to vote on it. For more details about the topic, you can click on the Read More option – which unfortunately takes us to the web page at Hunch.com. A limitation of the API data I suppose.
In the topics screen, you will have the option to answer questions for Hunch to better understand your likes and dislikes. These training questions vary from topic to topic and are extremely important to show personalized recommendations. Answering the questions are optional and you can skip some if you are not comfortable answering them.
Since answering the training questions after logging in shows up better recommendations, let us go ahead do just that.
You can login to your Hunch account right from the app. However this seems to be a two stage process. In the first stage we enter just the username of the Hunch account. We are then taken to an embedded webpage at Hunch to enter the password. Options to login using using Twitter and Facebook credentials are also available in this screen.
After entering the password, we are shown a page alerting that an app is trying to access your Hunch account and whether this request should be approve or not. Folks who are particular about their privacy will welcome this extra layer of security. Unfortunately, the message is horribly formatted and does not respond to pinch zoom or any other touch response to make it readable.
You can start training hunchable to your taste by answering the questions from the Teach Hunch about you screen. The questions will be simple Yes or No type and most will have pictures in them. I will have to warn you beforehand – Hunch can ask some crazy questions that might make you uncomfortable. Yes, you can always skip these type questions, but there are quite a number of silly questions.
For the first question I was asked if I can do 10 pull ups (are you kidding me?). I obviously chose “No” and was delighted to see that 60% of Hunch users chose the same answer. Nothing warms the heart when you come to know that the rest of world is as lazy and spoilt as you!
The topics of the training questions are very colorful and range from your choice of wearing an obscene t-shirt to WalMart’s treatment of employees to the Palestine peace solution.
There is no limit to the number of training questions Hunch can ask you. You can stop at anytime and start asking for recommendations. The more questions you answer, the better the recommendations will be.
I answered about thirty training questions and moved to the categories list to get a personalized recommendation. I navigated my way to the entertainment section and chose to get help from Hunch if I should subscribe to NetFlix or not.
We get another round of questions, but this time they are totally relevant to the topic in question. I was asked how many movies I watch every month, if I have premium cable, would I like to watch old TV shows a lot and the like.
Unlike the earlier training questions, these set questions don’t run on an endless loop. Even though the number of questions is finite, it is not possible to determine how many questions will be asked before a recommendation is given to you. The number of questions depend on the answers you give and I found it to be less than 10 in three different occasions.
Once Hunch is satisfied with the answers you have provided, the recommendation is displayed. In this case, I was told that NetFlix is the right choice for me and I found the recommendation to be bang on the decision I made after few days of research.
hunchable also displays the reasons for you not to go with NetFlix (as in the case of every other recommendation) and the entire reasoning can be read by going to the Hunch web page.
I have reviewed Hunch extensively in the past at our sister blog Web.AppStorm. There was a steep learning curve when somebody uses Hunch for the first time. To my pleasant surprise, hunchable was easy to train and get recommendations. hunchable has stripped the confusing and less useful sections of Hunch, making it a reliable mobile recommendation engine.
That said, not being able to read more about the recommendations and comments on the topic is a major let down. This could very well be a limitation of the Hunch API, however if hunchable finds a way to circumvent this shortcoming, it could become the king of the mobile recommendation jungle overnight.
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