Quest for better Search and Birth of “Trail Answers”

Just two decades ago, internet had started to pick up momentum. Thousands of websites were popping up online everyday and information was increasingly becoming available to netizens. The world quickly evolved from lack of access to information to rich set of information becoming available at your fingertips. The type of information which is available on the web has also evolved dramatically. In addition to websites, information in the form of blogs, wikipedia pages, social media started to show up on the internet.

An average professional in the US today has multiple computers at their disposal and has a smartphone in their pocket (or hand while playing Pokémon GO). They know a lot about various topics today than ever before. That may sound good but this has resulted in two major issue: “Information Overload” and “Misinformation”. Also, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide your personal recommendations to your friends without your privacy being breached towards increasing the profits of tech giants. Finding relevant information quickly from sources that you can trust is increasingly becoming difficult.

The story behind Trail Answers goes back to 2012. Two friends (who are now cofounders of FinitePaths Inc.) were planning a trip to Alaska with their toddler kids. Going to such an extreme destination with such young children, of course they were paranoid and had more constraints: which hotels to pick, getting right food for the kids, what to carry/not to carry, what are some of the best and must buy products, etc. They had a ton of resources available but due to information overload, even though they had a “short list” of many options, picking the right option was taking a really long time. The endless Google searches, reading reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon wasn’t helping much. They simply couldn’t relate to joe123 giving 5 stars to a product or johnSmith giving 1 star to a hotel as they simply didn’t know who these people were.

That is when magic happened! Coincidentally, a friend told them about one of his friend who had gone to Alaska recently with a toddler. Eagerly, the duo got in touch with him through the common connection and got answers to all their questions from him directly. As they could trust the person’s inputs and get details and clarifications, they even took his itinerary and simply followed it from start to finish as-is. The trip was amongst the most memorable ones for them.

That is when it sparked — “wouldn’t it be nice if when you want to ask a question, you get connected to the best person that you can trust to answer that question?”. As geeky computer scientists, you don’t just dream of solving a problem but actually attempt to solve it.

Trail Answers is our solution to the problem which haunts all of us everyday: Finding trusted answers to your everyday questions like the ones above. Given a question, our technology finds the right set of people from your social network who are likely to know the answer to the question and connects you to them. We have just gotten started but Trail Answers is already helping our users arrive at decisions quicker than before and we hope that it will help you the same. So gear up, download Trail Answers and let’s build a helpful community together!