xDroid is an intriguing personal intelligent assistant project that launched on Kickstarter a while back and that has only a few days left to meet its funding goal. The project was incubated at Columbia College Chicago’s Business & Entrepreneurship Department, so it comes with a solid pedigree.
I’m not sure why the app is called xDroid. It doesn’t seem to be tied to the Android operating system. The demo videos show the app working on an iPhone. But regardless of the name, the xDroid has a different and interesting take on the concept of what makes an effective personal intelligent assistant.
To try and summarize the concept in a nutshell, xDroid’s main focus seems to be to connect you with things. Specifically, it aims to connect you more easily to people who are offering products or services that you are looking to buy. Likewise, it can also help you find customers for the things you hope to sell. It also connects you to others who have information that might be useful to you.
The app learns about you, your preferences, and your social network. If you need an illustrator for you latest book, xDroid will let others in your network know and it will search through the network to see if there’s an illustrator out there offering services. xDroid will facilitate a connection between you and the illustrator, or give you information about competing illustrators so that you can select the one you want.
Two aspects of xDroid stand out: the extremely futuristic and innovative user interface and the “social search” concept. Let’s start with the user interface. The animated screen captures on the Kickstarter page look like something off the dashboard of an alien spacecraft. The underlying concepts seem to be about showing connections between things: connections between you and others in your extended network, connections between your preferences and what others are seeking to buy and sell, connections between your friends and their current activities and interests.
The concept of social search isn’t new. Neither is “social selling.” That’s what LinkedIn is all about, I suppose. But the xDroid concept seems a bit more seamless. Based on the way the app is described, it appears that xDroid can anticipate what you want to buy and initiate searches in the background that span the web as well as all of the contacts in your extended network. The xDroid search engine pulls your friends and acquaintances into its search algorithm. It searches the real world, not just the web. Crowdsourcing replaces the drudgery of shopping. It’s a cool idea. Personally, I’d find the concept of social search even more intriguing if it wasn’t as much about buying and selling as about sharing ideas and learning from your social network. If you’re trying to solve a tough problem, xDroid could help quickly connect you to experts or others interested in helping you find a solution, for example.
I don’t know how much of the xDroid app is built out and how much is still in the concept phase. The Kickstarter campaign seems to have stalled, but I wish the team luck. It seems to me that they’re on to something.