Feeds

Peter Gabriel cranks his f*ck machine

Meet the website promising to defy the tyranny of choice

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Updated The Filter wants to be your internet friend. And unlike Facebook, it wants to help you ignore all the morons, self-broadcasters and general noisy bombardment that characterises the modern web experience.

The pitch is simple. Web users are presented with limitless entertainment choices, and the majority of them are rubbish. To most of us, at least 90 per cent of the sound and video available online is utter tosh, although which 90 per cent naturally varies according to taste. The Filter promises to intelligently sift through all those songs, movies and TV shows to generate a more palatable daily media diet.

The Filter's hipster-friendly start page

The site's been in private beta for a while, and in April got some early loving in the US media. On Tuesday it opened to the hoi polloi and staged a launch for mainstream and web-fancying UK press in London.

Amid the throng of crappy web start-ups, long overdue a cull (we're polishing our "titsup 2.0" headlines daily in preparation), The Filter has star power thanks to the involvement of former Genesis frontman-turned-web-entrepeneur Peter Gabriel.

The Filter's auto-critic is based on Bayesian mathematics, a branch of probability that has come to be used widely in attempts at artificial intelligence such as anti-spam tools and genetic sequence processing.

Bayesian inference can combine background data with a few points of evidence to work out the probability of an unknown. The Filter's background data for music recommendation is 50 million sales and playlists imported from the Nokia store and MSN music. Its evidence is the preferences you give it when you sign up, which it uses to estimate whether you'll like, say, Peter Gabriel if you like Genesis (probably).

Gabriel is mostly acting as the public figurehead of the operation, while also providing financial and evangelical backing, like a wealthy musical Buddha. He told El Reg: "If you look at the major religions, freedom from choice is something people often choose voluntarily. It allows people to look in themselves." Blimey.

The Bayesian algorithm generates a raw list of recommendations, which is then passed through a series of user-adjustable filters (geddit?) designed to allow for mood.

It's a subtly different approach those used by fellow music recommendation engine Last.fm, owned by US conglomerate CBS. The Filter claims testing has shown its mathematical approach produces superior recommendations to Last.fm's community-based "wisdom of crowds" (ahem) kung fu. Unlike CBS, The Filter doesn't have full song licensing deals with record labels, however, so for now acts less as a personal radio station and more as jump-off point.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Update

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.