The latest addition to the on-line social-networking craze comes with a twist: it can help people make decisions.
For the indecisive and the curious, Hunch—cofounded by Caterina Fake, who launched Flickr in Vancouver five years ago—aims to help its members make choices about anything and everything. Users take advantage of this by navigating through multiple-choice questionnaires on wide range of topics.
Powered by user contributions, Hunch lets you browse topics created by others and create your own. The site becomes more useful every time someone contributes. The fun, simple layout of the site somehow puts you at ease about giving away highly personal information and allowing the site to store your answers in its database. Hunch does claim that it will never sell “your specific answers” to other companies.
Like Twitter, you can follow or be followed by other users. Your answers to questions are hidden from the public, unless you choose to put them out in the open. The more you contribute, the more “banjos” you receive, indicating how much you have contributed to Hunch.
After asking you 10 questions or less on a topic, Hunch provides results to help you make your decision. It also allows members to give feedback on answers given to them, and add more information and URLs to the results.
The top right of a user’s home page features a box that says “Teach Hunch About You”, with a question directly underneath it, and answers to choose from. Each time you answer a question, a new one appears. This allows the site to analyze its users’ answers to figure out their personalities and interests. Questions like, “Have you ever cheated on a test?” and “Do you make your bed everyday?” are asked, as well as perhaps less invasive questions about your age, hobbies, and lifestyle. The site compares itself to “the way a trusted friend gets to know you better over time”.
The home page also features five questions, and has tabs with newest, random, and “for you” options. It also has tabs for people using the site, including people that are active users, most followed, most like you, and most unlike you. The personalized tabs are determined by the answers you give the site.
Broad topics such as, “Where should I travel to?” to more specific ones like, “Should I use cash or miles for my next flight?” are available.
I chose the question, “Am I too stressed?” After answering 12 questions, it told me that I am “definitely” stressed and described all my symptoms perfectly, and gave me the same remedies and solutions that my own doctor gave me.
While you may not need Hunch to give you answers to trivial, rhetorical questions, like whether or not you should fake sick at work today, it does give you the option to ask them. But the site is better suited for larger and more serious questions.
In April, the site will open to the public. For the last few months, invite-only members have tested out this personalized Web site that can be a useful tool for decision-making, or just a way to pass the time.