Thoora – The Google of Canada

It’s a bold statement to make but it is one that Thoora founder and CTO Chul Lee stated with boldness and conviction:  “We want Thoora to be the Google of Canada.”

This past weekend, Chul was a featured session speaker at EPIC‘s EpCon 2010 conference in Waterloo, Ontario.  For 30 minutes Chul described the evolution of media from legacy to Web 1.0 to social media to Thoora.  thoora tracks news from tens of thousands of traditional (legacy) news sources.  It then ranks them according to their popularity via mentions on blogs, blog commentary and Twitter mentions. So, if you go on what you will get are the popular stories.  Stories that people like you and me, our neighbours, co-workers and family find important and interesting.

For example, the terrible tragedy in Haiti has been front and center on news sources such as CNN and the Toronto Star.  However, do we and the general web-savvy public feel the same way?  I challenge you to check and see where Haiti ranks.  I challenge you to find it on the front page.

To rank stories, Thoora uses a variety of methods including fetching, filtering, discovering, classification, content cleaning and indexing.

Chul was asked many questions during his presentation’s Q&A.  One question, which he is always asked, is what is Thoora’s monetization plan.  According to Chul thee are a couple of options (not including embedded advertising). 

The first is a business-to-consumer model.  Chul floated the idea that Thoora could customize and deliver news on a subscription basis.  The second would be a potential business-to-business concept.  This would entail a company purchasing data from Thoora to determine the popularity of their own news items.

Imagine.  Thoora actually “saving” legacy media businesses by helping them focus and report on popular news stories instead of what their editorial board wanted.  Food for thought.