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Social search with Irish start-up HeyStaks

Professor Barry Smyth, co-founder of HayStaks and Leo Hamill, partner with NCB Ventures outside NovaUCD
Professor Barry Smyth, co-founder of HayStaks and Leo Hamill, partner with NCB Ventures outside NovaUCD
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Professor Barry Smyth, co-founder of HayStaks and Leo Hamill, partner with NCB Ventures outside NovaUCD
Professor Barry Smyth, co-founder of HayStaks and Leo Hamill, partner with NCB Ventures outside NovaUCD

HeyStaks, a University College Dublin (UCD) web start-up that allows people searching the web to collaborate with friends as they search online in a bid to increase productivity, have opened their service to the public.

HeyStaks overlay their technology on existing search engines like Google and Bing and apply social context, attempting to make searching more productive – by up to 50%. Their premise is that if a friend has already conducted a search online, why should you have to go through this entire process again?

The service currently exists as a Firefox extension and iOS app that allow users to save searches in a ‘stak’ that is recommended to friends making similar searches in the future.

According to Dr. Peter Briggs, HeyStaks co-founder and vice-president of engineering,

“We are making search more efficient by allowing people to share their search experiences with others.

“Our beta-users tell us that these recommendations are often much more relevant than the default results from Google, Bing or Yahoo! because they come from people you know and trust. And best of all, HeyStaks works with your favourite search engine so you don’t have to change your search habits to benefit.”

Last year the company raised €1 million in funding from The Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund that has allowed it to setup office in NovaUCD, Dublin, and also an office in San Francisco. HeyStaks are currently recruiting engineers for their Dublin office with a view to reaching fourteen employees in the coming months. They plan to employ forty people by 2013.

Dr. Maurice Coyle, HeyStaks co-founder and vice-president of product development commented,

“It’s been a hectic few months since we raised our funding. We’ve been hiring engineers in Dublin, set-up our office in San Francisco, and put the final touches on HeyStaks. We make mainstream search engines, like Google and Bing, more social”.

Have you used HeyStaks yet? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.