Jiqa – The Real time web browser available to the public

2009 June 7
by Ismail Dhorat

jiqaJiqa, a startup out of South Africa which bills itself as “The real time web”, have just launched their product to the public. I have been keeping an eye on the project for a while and happy to see the first public release. Please note this is a very early beta release.


What is Jiqa?
Jiqa basically flips the script on traditional ranking of pages (i.e Google’s), Jiqa is a browser that records key metrics as you surf the web and then sends that to a central server, a ranking is calculated and rankings are aggregated, to determine a sites overall ranking.

JiQA is premised on the basis that web pages are not created equal. It sorts out which pages are of high-value from the low-value pages while you browse. It does this by time: do you spend a lot or little time on the page relative to the content it contains?

In this initial release, the only measure is time spent on a page however there are plans to add other measures such as printing, saving a page and clicks on links.


Jiqa then publishes the most popular links on the home page, you can see popular pages for several time frames including the last hour. You can also search by keyword for pages that have been popular within the last hour, day etc. I find the product fascinating, its quite a new take on the whole real time web, which even has Google saying they have to do it. It is also a novel take on a new way of content discovery, Though the question is can it scale? 2


I cant give a complete review, since the browser is only available on windows and all i have is Ubuntu and mac. Once i get to a windows box, ill post an updated review. Though i do find the concept quite intriguing and a prime target for takeover from the likes of Microsoft/Mozilla/Google if they get over some of the challenges.


Some of the challenges
Firstly, the browser was built with the .net framework, and it looks like they have built it from the ground up. While i believe developing your own solutions can be useful, i do think that making use of existing technology and then customizing it for your needs saves you a whole lot of development time. For example, Jiqa could have forked the open source Gekko Engine used by Firefox/Flock etc. or Webkit used by Safari. This would allow a much feature rich browser, and you could still add the custom features required for Jiqa.


Spam could also be an issue, since rankings are client based. However Kevin is aware of the Spam issues and has stated he is looking at ways to counter spam.


I believe this product has huge potential, though it needs to be refined. I can see some interesting use cases: for example real time sharing of what you are browsing with your friends. A tab in the browser that provides a short summary and links of sites your friends are viewing at that point in time.


Watch the introductory Video

What do you think of the product, download it and let us know!

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