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Start-up develops innovative search engine

With its app mAsk, the Basel-based start-up Pocket Solutions has developed an alternative to mainstream search engines such as Google. The app ensures anonymity while allowing questions to be answered by real people.

search engine
Pocket Solutions has developed an alternative to mainstream search engines such as Google. (image credit: geralt)

Pocket Solutions uses the concept of swarm intelligence for its app mAsk. When users register, they have to specify three subject areas. They are then allowed to ask questions but are also available to answer questions from other users. So far more than 220 people have registered, and the target is to reach 10,000 by the end of the year, reported SRF.

The app’s developers – Christoph Wirz, Jonas Schwarz and Fabian Schumacher – came up with the name mAsk by combining the words ‘mask’ and ‘ask’. The ‘masked questions’ allude to the app’s main advantage: anonymity. “Every user is a mask,” said Schwarz in an article in 20 Minuten. Even if the user posing a question and then one answering it get involved in a detailed exchange to clarify follow-up questions, anonymity is still maintained.

An exception to this are commercial users as they can earn money through the app. They register under their identity and can then subscribe to certain search terms. If a question is asked on the topic of insurance protection for example, representatives of insurance companies can come forward and contact the user asking the question.

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