Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not see an answer to your question below, please contact us directly.

About Primal

  • What are interests? Interests are the topics that hold your attention over time, such as your health, your career, your education, and your hobbies. Primal creates semantic data that describes these interests to a level of detail that machines can process, to individualize the user experience.
  • How does Primal learn individual interests? Primal learns a person’s interests through their interactions with your application or website. Indicators such as the documents they request, their search queries, or information they provide through user profiles may be used directly by Primal to capture interests. Primal also has a learning mechanism that refines this interest data as individuals consume their individualized information.
  • What content sources does Primal support? Out of the box, Primal provides access to the most sought-after types of sources on the Internet, such as news, images, reference materials, videos, and social media.
  • Can I add my own content sources? Yes, we make it easy to add any Web content source you need. These custom sources can be as simple as adding URLs for the websites and RSS feeds you trust. We also support more complex integration options for supporting custom or proprietary sources of content.
  • Does Primal technology work with multimedia?Yes, Primal integrates seamlessly with a variety of content sources, such as images and videos. It requires only that these objects have some textual annotations, such as titles, captions, or descriptions.

How is Primal different?

  • What is the difference between a social graph and an interest graph? Social graphs are organized around connections between people. Interest graphs are organized around topics and content of interest. While social graphs may support broad interests and groups of people, they are not built to organize information according to the specific interests of individuals.
  • What is the difference between Primal’s interest graphs and competing interest graphs? Most interest graphs organize information around very broad topic areas, like technology or politics. Primal is organized around very specific and individual interests, like “the cultural impact of technology on conservative politics“. Primal also allows you to use the specific sources of content that you trust. This specificity of topics and sources allows you to treat each and every customer like an individual, and deliver highly engaging products and services.
  • How is Primal different from a search engine or alerting service? Search engines and alerting services are very effective when you want to retrieve information you know about. But that often requires a lot of searching. You can think of Primal as a re-search engine. Primal operates many search engines on your behalf, in a much more proactive and comprehensive way, powering more productive and convenient user experiences.
  • How is Primal different from other semantic technologies? Most semantic technologies are focused on data analysis: deriving semantic data from existing expressions of knowledge, such as past consumer activity. Conversely, Primal is focused on data synthesis: generating semantic data that represents knowledge that was not previously encoded in some other form. This synthesis capability is important for representing the unique and individual interests of your customers, without requiring privacy-invading data collection or surveillance.
  • How is Primal different from big data approaches? Primal’s approach doesn’t require mountains of existing data or expensive new infrastructure investments. Primal doesn’t compromise individual privacy by collecting large amounts of user data or analyzing past activities. Primal is a cost-effective, simple, and scalable solution that brings the benefits of big data to a much wider audience of product developers.
  • How is Primal different from a data aggregator? Data aggregators compile information from different sources and sell structured datasets to other organizations. Primal not only aggregates data from different structured and unstructured sources of content, it organizes and filters that data based on the interests of individual end users. Data aggregators need you to do all the filtering and organizing; Primal does that for you.

About our data service

For more information, please see our Developer documentation and resources.

  • What is Primal’s data service? Primal’s data service provides a cloud-based, RESTful interface to Primal’s underlying technology. It’s designed to support rapid product development and deployment, and requires no special training in semantic technologies or user modeling.
  • Where does Primal store the interest data of individuals? Primal operates as a cloud-based data service (DaaS). The interest data it produces is also stored securely and privately in the cloud. You are free to review, modify, and delete your data at any time.
  • What is the price for Primal’s data? Primal is free up to a certain level of usage. Please contact us for details.
  • How is the software installed? There is no software installation required. Other software distribution and licensing options are available for larger accounts if your product requirements are more complex. Please contact us for more information.
  • How would I integrate Primal into my product or service? Primal is unparalleled in its ease-of-use. As input, Primal takes a collection of keywords representing topics of interest. Additionally, you can specify a source of content, like news, social media, or RSS feeds. Primal will return an interest graph as structured data, in the format of your choosing (JSON or RSS). Your content will be filtered, ranked, and scored against the interests you specify. This structure makes it easy to integrate Primal within your website, product or service. Please see How It Works for more information.
  • How many consumers can Primal support? As a real-time and cloud-based data service, Primal scales horizontally to operate at Internet scale, right now. Alternatively, we can provide bulk data as an off-line service, if you prefer to provision Primal’s interest data in advance of your product or service delivery.
  • Do I need to worry about copyright and licenses? No. Primal’s interests data is open, meaning you can store and reuse Primal’s data. Primal accesses content from the open Internet and displays text and image summaries in a manner that’s compliant with copyright laws, in much the same way that all the major search engines operate. (Individual content sources are subject to their own terms of use.)

About our technology

For more information, please see our Technology page.

  • What is Primal’s core technology? Primal is powered by a proprietary artificial intelligence that synthesizes (or generates) data that describes topics of interest, on-demand and in real-time. It uses this data to filter and organize content from your trusted sources across the Web.
  • What is semantic data? Semantic data is data that describes the meaning of things in a formal, machine-readable manner. Primal synthesizes semantic data to describe an individual’s topics of interest.
  • Where does Primal get the data about my interests? Primal generates (or synthesizes) its interests data, it doesn’t provision the data in advance. Much like natural language is generated from a vocabulary of words and a grammar, Primal synthesizes interests using proprietary vocabularies of “atomic” semantic data (analogous to words) and knowledge generation rules (analogous to a grammar). These vocabularies of atomic semantics are derived from sources like lexicons, encyclopedias, and dictionaries.
  • Is Primal an example of artificial intelligence? Primal intersects with the broad field of artificial intelligence in areas such as knowledge representation and machine learning.
  • Does Primal “think” like a person does? No, but Primal simulates the activities of knowledge engineers — people that organize and structure information for machine processing.
  • How can Primal trust the knowledge represented in its data? Primal is representing the highly subjective and individual interests of consumers, not universal facts. We measure performance in the improved productivity of the products powered by this data.

Working with Primal

For more information, please see our Careers and Contact pages.

  • How do I start using Primal? Log in to your free Primal account to begin evaluating your individualized user experience immediately. Visit our Developers site for resources and instructions how to integrate Primal within your own application or website. For a free consultation with one of our solution specialists, contact us to set up a demo and use case analysis.
  • Are you hiring? Please see our Careers page for opportunities and information on how to get the process started.
  • Who should I contact to explore your professional services or a business partnership? Please contact us to explore our professional services and business development opportunities.