Around here, we’re endlessly fascinated by the wide world of online shopping, and it seems that every week brings with it a brand-new site to be obsessed with. Since keeping track of ‘em all can be a feat of epic proportion, we’ve decided to feature “A Site To See” each week, highlighting a cool retail website you’ll definitely want to bookmark. This week: an app called Qloo that analyzes your taste in things like fashion, film, and food—then makes recommendations across categories.
What It Is and How It Came About: Qloo is an iPhone app (soon to launch on Android as well) that assesses your taste across a number of categories—fashion, film, television, books, food, and nightlife—then makes suggestions for you based on what you like.
“It all began about two years ago, when I was agonizing about taking a vacation which I hadn’t done in a while,” Qloo co-founder Alex Elias tells StyleCaster. “I was looking for something that would understand me culturally and could suggest things across categories. It was really interesting that the stuff that came to the surface of personalized discovery was silo’ed within individual categories. There was nothing that could take a more holistic view. That set up this ambitious journey.”
How It Works: “Whenever you sign into Qloo, we just ask you for five clues about your taste,” co-founder Jay Alger tells StyleCaster. “Basically, we just ask you what you love: A favorite movie, fashion brand, book. We’ve mapped a hell of a lot of data: movies, hotels, restaurants, fashion brands. Then it goes into this gallery with personalized suggestions based on what you like.”
Basically, when you sign into Qloo (for example), you can let the app know that you’re obsessed with a brand like Rag & Bone, and it will then tell you, based on your taste in Rag & Bone, where you might like to travel, what restaurants you might like to try, and what bars you might want to visit.
“So you can say, I’m off to Chicago, where do all the people who love Rag & Bone go to hang out?,” Alex explains. “Qloo will give you that answer.”
“Something like Yelp is more generic, if you think about it,” he continues. “One restaurant has five stars and one has three, whether you’re Donald Trump or a protestor, you get told the same thing. It’s almost dictatorial. But we are forming a taste profile to give you recommendations specific to you.”
Famous Supporters: Qloo has a number of big-name supporters, despite having only launched less than a year ago. Actor, restaurant owner, and general vivant Danny Masterson is on the Qloo boat, as is Cedric the Entertainer. Another big win: Ashton Kutcher, who is known for throwing his weight behind new technology that ends up blowing up more down the road.
Check It Out: You can download the Qloo app from the iTunes store here! And yes, it’s totally free.